When Your Current School Isn’t Working
Be proactive in charting your child’s educational path
If your child isn’t progressing at their current school, it may mean the school—whether it be the environment or in-class approach—doesn’t suit their specific abilities, interests or learning style.
“Pay attention to the individual fit. How well does the school match the child’s various developmental needs—physical, social and emotional?” says Dona Matthews, a psychoeducational consultant, former Ontario Institute for Studies in Education instructor and co-author of Beyond Intelligence: Secrets for Raising Happily Productive Kids.
Matthews says to look at your child’s general level of happiness, academic engagement and success, degree of involvement in non-academic activities, and friendships at school. Meet with your child’s teacher to share your concerns, get their feedback and explore possible strategies.
Ask your child how they feel about their school. A useful approach, Matthews says, is making a chart with them indicating what they do or don’t like about their school, or getting them to describe their ideal school and discussing how well their current school meets these expectations.
Janyce Lastman, an educational consultant who helps families across Canada, says parents should be proactive when charting their child’s educational path: “The best time for a child to change is in a position of strength. If a child is feeling decently about themselves socially, emotionally and
academically, change is always easier.”
That, of course, sometimes becomes impossible, which makes it all the more important to be attentive to how your child is doing at school. “Switching schools is a big deal for a child, so don’t make the decision lightly,” Matthews says. “But if your child is not thriving at their current school, you should consider the change.”
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