Pencils, paper, glue, notebooks …

Back-to-school can be a flurry of activity for families, many of whom are focused on school supply lists. However, there are a few other things educators at National Heritage Academies partner schools encourage families to do to start the school year strong.

According to a news release, the partnership a parent has with their child’s teacher is one of the most valuable tools for a successful school year. From communication strategies to fostering a love for learning, she says there are several ways parents can relationship-build with teachers from the get-go.

Communication is Key

At the heart of a successful parent-teacher partnership is open and efficient communication.

“A breakdown in communication can lead to issues throughout the school year,” Triumph Academy Principal Nicole Graves said. “Parents and teachers both need to understand the best ways to communicate. Asking questions like ‘How do I reach out to you for questions or concerns?’ and ‘What’s the next step if I don’t hear back?’ can help create a clear chain of communication.”

Support Learning at Home

Learning doesn’t only happen in the classroom.

“Parents should ask about ways to support their child at home and ask about volunteer opportunities,” Graves said. “It’s important to work together and recognize that your child’s teacher isn’t the only one teaching your child. It takes a village.”

Share Information About Your Child

Every student is unique, and acknowledging their individual needs is crucial, Graves said. It’s essential for parents to be transparent about any medical, behavioral, or dietary needs the child may experience.

“It’s important for parents to come to us from day one and say, ‘Here’s what’s going on. Here are my concerns. I just want to make you aware.’ It helps us make more informed decisions when supporting the student.”

Encourage a Positive Mindset

The start of the school year can be a stressful time for children as they learn new routines, which is why maintaining a positive attitude is so important. Graves recommends parents encourage a positive mindset and refrain from discussing negative aspects of their own educational experiences in front of their kids.

“Even though you may have had a negative educational experience doesn’t mean your child has to as well,” Graves added. “The more everyone is willing to come to the table and work together, the more successful the kids are going to be.”

Provide Growth and Problem-solving Opportunities

Children face challenges with everything from homework to friendships and these situations can be growth opportunities.

“Provide words of encouragement and be an open ear for them to come to,” Graves said. “If they are struggling or having a bad day, just listen. Help them develop problem-solving skills by offering some suggestions or steps for them to be able to work through it rather than just giving them the answer.”

Source: National Heritage Academies