Talking about grades may not be the easiest thing to do, but your child who receives stickers and stars as a preschooler will soon discover the significance of the progress report he brings home to mom and dad. When your child is just beginning to enjoy school, how do you let him know his performance is appraised in class? A child education expert and several moms with their own experiences and approaches give very useful tips on handling this parenting challenge.
Gauge your child’s readiness. Doctor-entrepreneur and full time mom to Bella, 8, Sophie, 5, and Katie, 2, Julie Ann Lipayon, M.D., illustrates how it varies for each of her daughters. “I remember Bella, at five, being proud of her progress card that would show mostly ‘black squares’ meaning she had achieved most of the goals set for her at that level. Now that she is in Grade 3, she does understand the concept of grades. Sophie, on the other hand, now five, is still having too much fun to take her lessons seriously,” she says, adding she will have to wait and see for Katie who is just about to start school this year.
Your child’s readiness to understand the implications of his performance in class should be considered when enrolling your child in a school where a grading system is being implemented, according to Sarah Patricia Gil-Unas, M.A. Ed., Major in Child Development and Education at the University of Asia and the Pacific, and Terrific Tots Instructor at The Little Gym of Makati. “For most, this comes as soon as they enter grade school at around six or seven years old.”
Talk about the purpose of grades. According to Gil-Unas, the importance of introducing grades to your child is for him to learn that his progress Is being evaluated, and to encourage him to strive to do even better. “Parents may explain grades presented in letter or number forms to children six or seven years old who are already familiar with the concepts of ‘comparatives’ and ‘superlatives.’ An important thing to note is that your child should not see his grades relative to the grades of peers or classmates, but rather, as based on the standard the school has set.”
For Joyce Baliuag, CPA, Senior Manager in a real estate development company and mom to 10-year old Justin Bryden and 2-year old Raya Monise, the grading system in her son’s progressive school, which is not focused on ranking or standing, merely allows Justin to become aware of how he fares in his subjects. “His awareness of the grading system started in the primary years. I remind him that grades are instruments for him to know if he needs to pay more attention in class,” she says.