- The National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) is urging parents to remain actively involved in their children’s lives as they make the transition to secondary school, to encourage academic excellence.
- The NPSC advises parents to visit the school ahead of the school term to become familiar with the various academic programmes offered, such as advanced placement, vocational and remedial education and extracurricular activities.
- The NPSC official recommends that parents prepare children for the difference in curriculum, so that children will adjust quickly to the increased workload.
The National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) is urging parents to remain actively involved in their children’s lives as they make the transition to secondary school, to encourage academic excellence.
Speaking with JIS News, Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NPSC, André Miller, says parental support plays a critical role in the child’s performance in school.
“Studies have shown that as children move into the higher grades, especially grade nine, parental participation declines. We have found where parental involvement is high, that academic achievement is also high,” he adds.
Mr. Miller notes that the change from primary to secondary school is a particularly stressful period for children and advises that parents prepare children on what they can expect as they enter this new environment.
“As children approach the new academic year, we want parents to remember that it can be quite a frightening experience for children as they transition from primary to secondary school and as such, parents should prepare their children to handle the differences between primary and secondary school,” he says.
The NPSC advises parents to visit the school ahead of the school term to become familiar with the various academic programmes offered, such as advanced placement, vocational and remedial education and extracurricular activities.
Parents of special needs children should also contact the school in advance to make arrangements for their child to have access to regular or special programmes and to ensure that there is adequate support for this new phase of life.
Mr. Miller also offers parents other practical tips to assist their children in easing the transition from primary to secondary school.
The NPSC official recommends that parents prepare children for the difference in curriculum, so that children will adjust quickly to the increased workload.
“What they did in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) will be different because the curriculum will require that they recall and analyse and think critically,” he notes.
Other considerations for making the transition to secondary school are larger class sizes and being the youngest group in school.
Guidance and good communication between parent and child will greatly assist children in adjusting as well as coping with difficult situations and understanding their strengths and weaknesses in their academics and personally.
Mr. Miller adds that at this stage, children will be going through puberty and may struggle to find their personal identity, which is particularly challenging as they seek to fit into a social group.
He reminds parents to encourage their children to select friends who will positively impact their lives, as friendships formed at this stage will affect their performance throughout their high-school years.
Peer pressure to engage in risky behaviour – alcohol consumption, inappropriate sexual behaviour and truancy – increases during the adolescent years, which can negatively impact academic performance.
Parents are, therefore, urged to be knowledgeable about assignments and are encouraged to get to know the friends of their children.
A common characteristic among adolescent social groups is bullying. The NPSC advises parents to encourage children to avoid confrontations with bullies and instead control anger, or the urge to retaliate against their adversary, and speak to parents and teachers about the situation.
Another tip to parents for helping children to start on the right path and to successfully navigate the high-school years is cultivating good time-management skills and structured study habits.
“We promote the art of scheduling and structure as an element of effective parenting. We encourage parents to provide structure to encourage the best output,” the Acting CEO says.
He further urges parents to encourage full participation in extracurricular activities which, he says, underpin personal development and academic discipline.
Parents should have an open discussion with children about the various educational and career options during and after secondary school.
Mr. Miller encourages parents to work with their children to draft a clear plan mapping their long-term goals.
“Encourage your child to begin to think about their dream career and work towards it from the first day of high school. Sit with your child and help them to envision their lives five years down the road, so they can begin to put a plan in place,” the Acting CEO suggests.
This, he says, will help the child to remain focused and dedicated in their academic and other pursuits throughout their high-school experience.