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Life at Linscott

(Or... How to Behave in a Manner Which Makes Life Pleasant for Everyone!)


Working as a parent volunteer at Linscott can be very challenging, but very rewarding also. There are some things that help everyone and contribute to the well-being of the school and community. There are other things, though, which only create negative feelings and interfere with effective working relationships.

It is of primary importance that everyone remember -- staff and parent volunteers included -- that in fulfilling our various job roles we are responsible for demonstrating positive role models not only to students, but to the whole community. The bottom line: speak and act towards others as you would like them to speak and act towards you. The following are some guidelines for positive and effective communications and working relationships between parents and students, parents and other parents, and parents and teachers:
Guides to Speech and Action (Adults to Students)

Speech

  • State suggestions or directions in positive language rather than negative language;
  • Give the child a choice only when you are prepared to leave the choice up to him/her, or limit choices to ones you can live with;
  • Use your voice and body language as a teaching tool. Your tone of voice and body language often carry more weight than your words, and should help the child to feel confident and reassured;
  • Avoid trying to change behavior by methods that may lead to loss of self-respect, such as shaming or labeling behavior naughty or selfish.
  • Avoid motivating a child by making comparisons between one child and another or by encouraging competition;
  • Redirect a child by suggesting an activity or approach that is related to his own purposes, interests, or learning style whenever possible.
  • Give a direction or suggestion at the time that it will be most effective.

Action

  • Avoid making models in any art medium except to illustrate a technique, or provide several models;
  • Give the child the minimum help in order that he/she may have the maximum chance to grow in independence, but give the child help when he/she needs it;
  • Make your directions effective by reinforcing them when necessary;
  • Learn to foresee and prevent rather than mop up after a difficulty;
  • Define limits clearly and maintain them consistently;
  • Be alert to the total situation and use the most strategic positions for supervising;
  • Make health and safety a primary concern at all times;
  • Increase your own awareness by observing and taking notes.

We are all here to facilitate children's growth and education. But sometimes we can interfere with their learning by helping too much and not allowing them to try, to experiment and sometimes even to fail. These are all-important parts of the learning experience. It's good to step back and observe children learning about their world -- including your own child.

Remember that, as a parent volunteer, behaviors that are wonderful and appropriate outside of school are not always appropriate at school. At home, snuggling up and having your child sit on your lap and reading to them is one of life's most enriching experiences, but it is not always appropriate in the classroom. Remember that you are here to help all students and the teacher. Getting into a "tug-of-war" with your child in class or on the playground over class work or behavior may well be unproductive. It is usually more effective for the teacher or another parent to intervene if there are problems in this regard. Sometimes it may even be appropriate for a parent to work in a class other than their own child's, if there is a continuing conflict between parent and child.

Remember that not all children learn or behave like your own. In fact, probably none do! At Linscott our goal is to value diversity in all areas of life -- lifestyles, language, culture, and learning styles. Learning style differences and learning disabilities, when very different from your own style or understanding are often difficult to understand in others. If you have questions about a child, your own or another, make sure to speak with the teacher for guidance. The teacher can often lend insight as to what strategies might work best for a particular child. What sometimes looks like a student who is obstinate and unresponsive may well be a child whose learning style or disability is preventing him/her from processing and interpreting the information being presented in class. Their behavior becomes a coping strategy. Any situations regarding students, especially those dealing with serious discipline consequences, should be discussed with the teacher, who should make the final decisions about action to be taken. All information shared about a student must be kept strictly confidential.

We have several videos available in the Linscott Library that deal with learning disabilities and how they manifest in different children. In addition, there are parent education videos and books available on a variety of other topics including learning styles, discipline, developmental milestones and much more.

Parents as Volunteers

The reason parents work at Linscott is to support and enrich the learning environment for all students. This entails respecting the overall learning environment:
  • When you are speaking with other adults, especially in the inside hallways, speak quietly so as not to disturb class work or small group work that may be going on in the hall. Don't use classroom time or playground supervision time for private, non-class related conversations; remain focused on the students.
  • If you need to speak to your own child, do it during a class break. If you need to bring a lunch or some other forgotten item, bring it to the office and the student can pick it up there.
  • Follow and help enforce the class rules established for each class.
  • Cell phones should be turned off during class time.
  • We work very closely with students and their families and are privy to much private information. It's important to remember that this information may be confidential, so it's important to avoid speaking with other parents about such matters. Gossip and negative comments can be very divisive and detrimental to the social fabric of our community, so please refrain from initiating or spreading gossip.
  • Adhering to the guidelines established in the Fieldtrip Policy is essential in ensuring safety and presenting a positive image of our school when we venture into the community.



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