As parents, your contribution to your children’s education is very valuable. You can have a positive impact on your children’s experience and progress in school. In Norwegian schools parents are encouraged to be actively involved in their children’s education and to establish regular communication with the teacher. Studies show that parent involvement helps children be more successful in school.
Ongoing communication makes it easier for the teacher to understand your children’s needs and helps you understand what is happening in school. It will help make the adjustment to a new school system as smooth as possible, while you offer support to your children.
The following strategies can help your children adjust to school life and learning in a new country:
- Talking regularly about school. You can ask questions about what happens at school and encourage your children to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences. You can listen for what is going well and what might be difficult. These discussions also help you know if your children are having difficulty. If so, you and your children may decide that it is a good idea to contact a teacher or the guidance counsellor.
- Encouraging your children to ask questions and answering them whenever you can; in this way, you are helping your children to build a foundation for success at school.
- Taking time when the family is together to talk about making the change to a new culture. You can let your children know that it is normal to be anxious when making big changes in your life.
- Talking about other situations that used to be difficult but are easier now.
- Celebrating small successes like the completion of the first two months in Norway
- Getting to know your children’s friends and making your home a welcome place for them.
- Encouraging your children to try new activities and to seek out new experiences that interest them. There are a lot of after-school activities that can provide opportunities for young people to learn new skills, develop new interests, and make new friends. You can follow up with your children and talk about their experiences together.
- Encouraging your children to tell you about and explain their opinions. This is good practice for students when they need to prepare for classroom discussions and written assignments.
You can support your children’s learning at home by:
- Asking your children about school every day. You can encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings about their school day.
- Offering to help your children with homework.
- Asking different members of the family to help them with their homework.
- Thinking about different skills and talents you and other family members have that might be of benefit to your children at school.
- Taking advantage of everyday moments for discussion and learning.
- Helping your children organize their time and create a positive workspace (in your home, or in a community centre or library).
- Discussing your children’s choice of courses, finding out what they are learning and how they are enjoying their courses. These discussions can help you and your children continually rethink and update their education plan.
You can encourage your children to read by:
- Encouraging reading among all family members.
- Sharing books, poems, and songs in your own language and/or Norwegian
- Making time to discuss what your children have read with them.
You can recognize and encourage your children’s abilities and strengths by:
- Pointing out successes and achievements in your children’s work, even small ones. This helps to build their confidence.
- Observing your children’s strengths and the areas you feel they need to develop. You can also share this information with the teacher.
- Maintaining your belief in your children’s capacities – even when there are challenges and obstacles.
- You can seek opportunities to communicate and work with the teacher by:
- Participating as often as possible in meetings with teachers. You can feel free to ask for another opportunity to talk to your children’s teacher or other school staff as needed – in person or on the phone.
- Contacting the school or the teacher if you have any questions or concerns.
- Asking teachers for help so as to help your children with their homework.
You can seek opportunities to connect and collaborate with the school by:
- Consulting the school website and agenda to find out about news and activities.
- Becoming involved in school activities and the School Council.
- Supporting the classroom program by volunteering