As parents, we are joyful when our children keep in touch with us about their lives inside and outside the bubble of our homes. It is always a significant moment for us every time they allow us to peek through the details of their multifaceted life as young children—whether those experiences are fun, or at times, full of frustration. In primary school, i.e. kindergarten through sixth grade, children undergo multiple transitions in academic, executive functional, and socio-emotional aspects which may make them feel pressured to keep abreast. Perhaps, you might have heard your children complain about school like these lines below:
“Dad…Mom… I don’t understand this lesson. I tried my best but I just can’t.”
“I don't think I can submit this today! I’m helpless.”
“I wasn’t able to sleep sufficiently last night, so I just felt so sleepy during class hours.”
“School is not fun anymore. My classmates keep on teasing me and I’m getting too affected. They’re singling me out.”
There are also times when our kids choose not to speak at all about how they are feeling toward school. Their withdrawal needs to be carefully attended to as they might manifest other unwanted behaviors such as investing too much time online and looking for other company instead of bonding with the family, refusing to eat or overeating just to try to cope with whatever problems they have, having a lack of motivation to go to school or low self-esteem, and many more. Either way, we have to recognize that these are tell-tale signs that our primary school children are facing some challenges at school. But rest assured that you are NOT alone, parents! Here at Keys, we are working hand-in-hand with you to help our kids bring back the luster in their lives as learners.
Challenges in tackling lessons
If your child is showing signs that he/she struggles in a particular series of lessons or a subject as a whole, you must connect with his/her content area teachers. Keys teachers are highly responsive so you can just email them if concerns arise. You may also request a meeting so that you can set goals and action plans with them for your child. Take note that teachers truly appreciate parents who are active in addressing problems. Meetings also allow teachers to get vital information about the child’s learning whenever he/she is outside school, helping them think of teaching strategies and activities that are targeted to the kids' needs. Teachers can provide supplemental activities that students can do at home. For example, Filipino teachers have observed that many kids think and feel that learning Filipino is so complex that they might not achieve its competencies. To address the issue, the Department of Filipino launched its Home Reading Program which aims to strengthen and encourage children to read using the language and to build strong home-school collaboration. Also, tutorial sessions in different subjects are viable options especially when the parents are quite busy, and Keys offers these.
Challenges in executive functioning skills
One major skill set that primary school children must learn is executive function as this is foundational to their overall learning and life skills. Based on the Center on the Developing Child from Harvard University, executive function skills refer to “the capacity to plan and meet goals, display self-control, follow multi-step directions even when interrupted, and stay focused despite distractions, among others.” To help kids learn how to track their discipline and disposition, parents can teach kids daily/weekly/monthly task or behavior checklists and/or school planners especially when the child struggles with time management or tech use. Keys teachers also provide trackers that kids can utilize, e.g. reading or writing trackers to check progress in Literacy activities.
Challenges in socio-emotional skills
In our hyperconnected age, many kids seem to be all the more disconnected for a lot of reasons. Some have anxieties and low self-esteem. Some also feel that they are being targeted by their peers, which results in unmotivated learning or depression even at such a young age. At Keys, we find this as a pressing concern that has to be addressed, that is why we keep our Wellness Department and Office of Relational Discipline as active key players in helping learners feel that Keys School Manila is a safe space for them to grow with all their achievements and mistakes without being harshly judged. Together with the pupils’ advisers, these aforementioned offices identify and analyze the root causes of the child’s struggle and process the evidence carefully. From the analysis, they also come up with solid solutions that will then be cascaded to the parents. Both offices also have regular check-ins like Homeroom and ATL classes or scheduled conversations with the life coaches.
When primary school learners are clearly showing signs of struggle, clear communication between parents and teachers is vital. Communication is essential in building a progressive learning environment because we are after the “progress” of the kids whether it is academic, executive functional, or socio-emotional challenges that they are dealing with. Keys School Manila assures that it maintains a solid connection with you, parents, to help our learners thrive despite their struggles because we are, after all, a caring community!