A uniform can help a child feel part of a community. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu
Cape Town - For many parents sending their child off to school for the first time is a minefield.  While many schools set out the rules quite clearly, there are still some things that parents tend to be uncertain about.

Foundation phase teacher Stephanie Jacobs, who has been teaching for more than three decades, has some advice about common problems teachers encounter during the first weeks of the new school year.

1. Make sure that your child has the correct uniform. It helps children feel part of a community and levels the playing field between children from different backgrounds.

2. Remember to consult the teacher about lunchbox snacks. Most schools have designated "snack" days
 
3. Try not to give the child tuckshop money unless there is an arrangement in place where teachers accompany them to the tuck shop to avoid bullying by older children.
 
4. Get into the routine of getting the child into bed early. Children need at least 8 hours of sleep to function throughout the day.

5. Listen to your child. Often children's complaints during the first week or two of school are a sign of things that can become a problem later in the term, or throughout the year. Examples: an impatient teacher, the child is unable to hear/see what is happening in class

6. Don't let your child wait for you to fetch them at the end of the school day. They need to know someone is collecting them as soon as the bell rings otherwise it creates insecurity.

7. If the school has a designated point where parents meet younger learners, do not flout the rules by fetching the child at his/her classroom as it disrupts the entire class.

8. If you have concerns, make an appointment to see the teacher. Do not show up unannounced and expect the teacher to leave his/her class unattended.  You wouldn't want your child's learning interupted by another parent, would you?

IOL