After the anxiety of starting preschool passes, first-day blues wane, and your little student settles into his class routine, you’d think your role in your child’s school is over. But truth is, it’s just beginning.
As soon as your tot gets the hang of school, your responsibilities as a parent broaden. You are no longer relegated to home duties, and your part doesn’t end at preparing his baon. Instead, you become partners with your child’s teacher and school.
Partners-in-crime Joel Llaban, Jr., elementary faculty and UbD In-house trainer at CebuInternational School explains the importance of the parent-teacher association (PTA). “The PTA provides a solid ground for parents and teachers to develop a professional relationship where they support each other in every aspect of the child’s education. This creates a harmonious relationship; camaraderie and friendship; and warm professional mutual collaboration between parents and teachers.” Remedios Templa, principal at Psalms Montessori in Parañaque, adds, “By being involved in your child's PTA, you are able to know how to help your child with his needs in school. You are also able to augment what the school is doing in educating him.”
PTA perks Your full participation in your child’s PTA will reap you -- and your tot -- more benefits than you know.
How your child benefits from your PTA involvement:
● You can easily find solutions to any problem. Dondon Grajo, a special education teacher at Little Tots Child and Development Center and Healing Touch Clinic in Quezon City, explains, “The needs of the child are addressed immediately -- for instance, if there are any developmental delays.” You are informed of what’s going on every step of the way.
● You encourage your child to do better in school. Tina Go-Shi, author of the Big Fish, Small Fish Series, and mom of four, has been very active in each of her children’s PTAs. She says, “Children of PTA parents tend to become achievers because they want to follow in their mom’s footsteps and achieve something in school, too.”
● You arouse a sense of belonging within your child and his school. When your kid sees your involvement and concern for his school, it builds a feeling of trust in his school and his teachers. “It merges the two worlds together. The teacher becomes someone he can trust even if Mom and Dad aren’t there,” explains Mina Garcia, former preschool teacher at Toddlers Unlimited in Muntinlupa.
● You share tips on how to address your child’s needs in school with his teacher. “It’s important for kids [to have] consistency. So if you use a certain method to address issues at home, it should be followed up in school -- and vice versa,” shares Garcia.
How your efforts are rewarded:
● You spend more time with your child—even in school. “When there are school activities, you can volunteer to take photos or videos. This way, you get to attend activities where parents are not usually invited,” Go-Shi confides.
● You have utmost peace of mind. The best part about being active in your child’s PTA, says Garcia, is the feeling of security that “in your child’s school, the teachers are competent and qualified; and you know your child is really being taken care of.”
● You learn new parenting 'tricks'. Gina Abesamis, mom to Luca, 3, reveals that her participation in PTA has shown her new ways of raising him. “[Luca's teachers] have a perspective that’s different from mine; they have a lot of experience with kids his age whom they can compare with,” she explains. You also learn childrearing tips and tricks from other parents. Go-Shi adds, “You learn about kiddie activities and events you could bring your child to, such as museums and the like.”
● You build a network and support group. “It also helps my social life because I meet new people through Luca’s network,” shares Abesamis.
Prep for the PTA You don’t have to be a Stepford Wife to be the best PTA mom. All it takes is a few simple steps.
1. Take the initiative to ask. If you have questions about your child’s progress in school, his lessons, activities, and other concerns, feel free to approach his teachers.
2. Inform your child's teacher of his special needs, if any. Information such as, “He’s undergoing therapy,” or “He’s excelling or slow in certain areas” will help the teacher get a clearer picture of what your child needs. It will also equip his teacher with the right information to boost your child’s potential.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
3. Be in the right frame of mind. The school’s role is to enrich your child’s knowledge and skills, but his real education should begin in the home. “Understand that it’s a partnership between you and the school. The school is not responsible in totally molding your child,” stresses Abesamis.
4. Volunteer. Do not hesitate to find out committees you can join.
5. Commit wholeheartedly. It’s not the amount of time you give that matters, but the kind of interest and effort you put into being active in your child’s PTA. If you can only commit a few hours or cannot attend certain activities, inform the other parents. And when you volunteer to do something, follow through.
6. Practice cooperation. “You’re both there to guide your child -- you’re supposed to be working together and not on opposing sides. Any concerns from either side are valid,” stresses Garcia.
Don't overdo it! There’s a thin line between being active and overdoing it. You know you’re going over the top when: ● You start having unrealistic expectations and demand too much from the school.
● You spend more time doing things for your child’s PTA than bonding with him.
● Your once lively child turns into a quiet, shrinking violet.
● You begin to compare your child with other kids and pit him against them