How Can Families Help Meet Children’s Special Needs?
More families are realizing the importance of science, and involving parents and caregivers helps to increase children’s success by:
- encouraging greater achievement in school;
- increasing family participation in school activities;
- supporting positive changes in school climate;
- improving student attendance;
- decreasing the school dropout rates;
- decreasing substance abuse, violence, and antisocial behavior; and
- increasing the collective efforts among school personnel, parents, and families toward greater productive partnerships. (Krueger & Sutton, 2001, p. 92)
Science skills develop over time, and development builds on older skills. “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it” applies here. The science foundation that is laid during childhood will increase each individual’s potential for later success. Also, science depends on mathematics. Students should be encouraged to study mathematics every school year.
All students learn science through hands-on, minds-on experiences. Children should be encouraged to handle physical objects, make measurements and direct comparisons, and ask frequent questions about what they observe and experience.
How Can Families Help Their Children Study and Prepare for Science?
Parents, caregivers, and other family members are invaluable when it comes to educating children. They are closest to the special needs their children may have. Families can help their children to succeed in science by following these suggestions:
- Stimulate interest in and foster feelings for science. Families can help their children to realize that science can be fun and help them to experience success, with its feelings of excitement, discovery, and mastery.
- Include science in the child’s everyday experiences. Children can be asked to count and form sets of utensils at dinnertime and can help to measure ingredients. Include children also in repairing broken appliances or building a model airplane.
- Establish a regular study time and provide a designated space for study away from distractions. Work with the teachers to develop effective ways to communicate with children who have vision and hearing disabilities. Equipment modifications can be developed for children who have physical disabilities, and these can be shared with the school.
- Check with children every day to make sure homework and special projects are completed. Families should ask to see completed homework and any tests or projects that have been graded or returned.
- Offer to read assignment questions. Even if a family member does not know the answers, the result will be a stronger bond. The child will benefit from an interested adult role model, forming the impression that school, homework, and effort are important.
- Ask whether children have any difficulties with science or mathematics. Families should talk often about any difficulties and then follow up if there appear to be continuing problems.
- Use a homework hotline if the school has one. This may be school-based or supported by individual teachers during designated hours.
© ______ 2009, Allyn & Bacon, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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