Children in school: Help them reach their potential
by: Kandy Williams
We all want our children to be the best that they can be. To reach their full potential, and to achieve whatever they put their minds to. How do we, as parents, enable our children to achieve in school?

Instill a love of learning in your child. This is the most important thing you can do for your child. From the moment they are developing in the womb, it is possible to cultivate their minds. Dr. Barbara Kisilevsky, a Queen’s University professor of nursing, along with a team of psychologists at Queen’s and obstetricians in Hangzhou, China, found that fetuses are capable of learning in the womb. “This is an extremely exciting finding that provides evidence of sustained attention, memory and learning by the fetus,” said Dr. Kisilevsky. The results are published in the international journal Psychological Science. According to Olive M. Morton, Ph.D. on Learning Place, we are born with a fixed number of brain cells, and we will not get any more than this. The networks formed by connections of the cells are most crucial during pregnancy up to the age of four, creating a foundation for emotions and learning capabilities.

Help your child with their homework. If your child is struggling, it will be easier for you to spot problems if you are a close observer. Schedule a time when you and your child sit down together and go over what they have learned and what tasks their teachers gave them to further their learning. If you are unsure how to do this, there is a 25 page booklet on the US Department of Education web site ( that goes into great detail about how to help your child with their homework.

Maintain an open channel of communication with your child’s teacher(s). Teachers shape a child’s mind as much or more than their parents do. It is imperative to make sure that you work with the teachers to give your child the best education possible. According to, there are a few things you can do to get to know your child’s teacher(s). One, you can simply introduce yourself at the beginning of the school year. Two, offer your services to the teacher(s). Offer to send in snacks for the classroom or to volunteer your time for a special project or a field trip. Three, be available for all parent-teacher conferences and make sure that if your child is struggling in school, you get together with the teacher to discuss any problems and possible solutions.

Listen to your child. If you take the time to listen to your child, they will confide in you if they are struggling in school. And then you can take action to find a solution to whatever it is that they are struggling with. According to, build a trusting environment where your child is free to discuss any topic of concern while they are very young, and take the time to just talk to your child because it is important for building an open and honest relationship. If your child wants to say something to you, be sure and give them your undivided attention. Your child’s idea or need to share it may be gone as suddenly as it appeared.

Be ready to do what it takes to help your child succeed. It may be that you have to enroll them in a special school where they can get the specialized attention and curriculum that they need at their current level, a place called an achievement center. Kathie Fouks, Principal of Acacia Academy and Clinical Director of The Achievement Center, Inc. said that they determine what track a child should be on by providing “a full battery of tests called a Psychoeducational Evaluation. This evaluation tells us the various academic grade levels the child is on, their cognitive/intellect, processing, as well as how they learn, what is the best way of teaching them, which programs are best for their continued growth and achievement, as well as their various stages of development.”

You are the guide on your child’s learning journey. If you are with them every step of the way, they will be able to succeed no matter where they began. Jiddu Krishnamurti, renowned philosophical and spiritual writer and speaker, once said “there is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”


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