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Every year, I get a barrage of information from my kids’ schools. How do I know what paperwork I should keep and what can be tossed?
From permission slips and artwork to field trip and sports forms, teachers are constantly sending material home to keep you abreast of your child’s progress. However, schools don’t keep all of the important records related to your child’s education. You should establish a file folder for each child and keep it in a file cabinet or desk drawer. The folders should include the following:
- Report cards and transcripts of grades
- Copies of letters or emails sent to a teacher or school on significant issues, as well as copies of their communications to you
- Standardized test scores
- Medical records, such as immunization records, your child’s annual physical, dental check-ups, and medication recommendations
Besides keeping these records, it’s also nice to have a portfolio of work completed by each of your children. You certainly won’t want to keep every piece of artwork or paper they’ve written. Be selective. An accordion file folder can keep these papers organized by grade level. You also might want to include an annual school picture of each child. When time permits, these can be transferred to a scrapbook and housed with other family memorabilia.
The school wants our young children in elementary school to use planners. However, the teachers have not made very specific recommendations. What should I be looking for?
The type of planners children use depends upon their grade level. The younger the child, the smaller the planner should be. They do not need heavy, bulky planners. In early elementary school, a planner should have:
- Plenty of space to write down assignments, as younger children usually have large handwriting
- A front and/or back pocket to bring work home from school and assignments and forms to school
- A spiral binding so papers will not fall out and be lost
As children advance to later grades, schools may provide planners or require a specific planner. These planners are usually larger and will offer more options. A calendar is definitely necessary so the children can write down the dates when assignments and reports are due, as well as the schedule of family events, extracurricular activities, and appointments.
Questions? Go to dearteacher.com.
Food for Thought
“School-age children are much more self-directed and peer-focused than when they were preschoolers. And their behavior and communication style seem to change overnight. There is always a moment when you think, ‘I don’t recognize this child,’ and then you realize, ‘Oh, she’s growing and changing.’”
• Michael Thompson Ph.D., co-author, Raising Cain. Want to read more about talking to kids? Go to PBS.org and click on Parenting