Parents learn helpful hints at workshop

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 23, 2006

Parents got some tips for helping their children achieve the most at school on Thursday via a parenting workshop at W.O. Parmer Elementary School.

During the hour-long morning workshop, parents learned how to better prepare their children for a successful school day and discovered ways they can volunteer time and goods to assist students.

&#8220Good communication is essential between parents and teachers for the children's welfare,” Guidance Counselor Regina Bennett, facilitator for the event, said.

The emphasis in today's disciplinary environment is to catch the student doing something good, Bennett explained.

Parents can bolster that by providing positive comments at home.

&#8220 With our Positive Behavioral Supports (PBS) Program, they know there are rules they have to follow here in school. From kindergarten right through the 12th grade, the rules are the same – be respectful, be responsible, be resourceful.”

The youngsters at W.O. Parmer are rewarded with &#8220Tiger Bucks” for exhibiting good behavior. These bucks can be used to buy small treats, such as toys, flashcards, pencils and puzzles.

&#8220The children really respond to this program, particularly some of the children who have had disciplinary problems in the past,” Bennett said.

&#8220When you pay attention and encourage them for their good behavior, it's teaching them positive things come from good behavior.”

The counselor pointed out the importance of keeping children in class so they have the chance to learn. &#8220We don't want children falling behind because of constantly being in trouble and being suspended.”

Bennett told the parents to &#8220stay on your children if they are not exhibiting good behavior at home.”

&#8220If we can keep them out of trouble and in class and learning from the very start, from kindergarten, that's great,” she added.

Always look for opportunities to be positive with your children, the counselor said.

&#8220Pay attention when they do well and compliment them; offer choices when you can – washing the dishes or taking out the garbage, for example – and look for ways to reward them.”

When giving children rules, give them a reason behind the rule, rather than &#8220because I said so,” Bennett said.

&#8220Show respect for your child and help them develop their common sense. We aren't born with it, we have to learn it.”

Other ways to assist children in their school work is to provide them with a consistent routine, going to bed, getting up in the morning and doing homework at the same time each day. A quiet, orderly spot where they can regularly do their work is also recommended.

Children also need to arrive well rested for their school day, Bennett said.

&#8220I see children who are sleepy and tired, drained when they arrive at school…they need to get their proper rest, just like an adult does, in order to function properly. Make sure they get to bed by 8:30 or 9 p.m. each night. Children need consistency in their lives.”

Preparing for the school day the night before as much as possible – laying out clothes, assembling school supplies, packing lunches, et al. – can be very beneficial in getting the day off to a good start for parents and children, Bennett said.

Bennett also shared the &#8220dos” and &#8220don'ts” of parent-teacher conferencing with the workshop participants, conferencing tips and sample questions.

&#8220Whenever you have a conference, be on time, have questions to ask and be positive in your attitude. Coming in angry or defensive is not the way to go,” Bennett said.

The guidance counselor said the school is also seeking individuals who can volunteer their time once or twice a week in the mornings to work with students who need extra help, especially in the area of reading.

&#8220If a teacher has a classroom full of children, she may have difficulty giving certain students the extra one-on-one attention they need. That's where a volunteer can be a great help,” Bennett said.

A training workshop for the volunteers will be announced at a later date.

The school also needs additional donations of treats for their Tiger Bucks program. There are some restrictions on what the school can accept.

&#8220Due to the Wellness Program, certain types of food and drinks are not allowed, fried snacks, for example. However, many of the little treats, such as toys, games, Play-Dough, you find at a dollar store are perfect for this. We appreciate any business's or individual's help with this,” Bennett said.

For more information on volunteer/donation opportunities, contact W.O. Parmer Elementary at 382-8720.