SOS as children settle into school


As teachers and parents embark on this second week of school, we begin to assess our class of children with the signal SOS!
S – Safe. Do the children in my class feel secure and safe?
O – Open. Are the children open to learning?
S – Sensitive. As a child’s teacher, am I being sensitive to a child’s learning needs as well as emotional needs.
As children adjust to their new home away from home in the classroom, parents can help facilitate bonding and security for their child with teachers. Think of it as a team effort to provide a wonderful learning experience for your child.
Take time to talk to your child about their school day. Keep a positive focus as they talk to you about what they learn, what they do and the friends they have made. As a parent, you can discern if your child doesn’t seem settled in school yet.
Here at the beginning of the year, contact your child’s teacher immediately if you sense that your child is anxious or doesn’t feel good about school. Teachers will spend extra time and give attention to your child by giving your child a special classroom job so they feel special and connected with the classroom.
I love to see parent love notes in lunch boxes of my students. Giving your child a little token of encouragement to put in their backpacks or pockets (let the teacher know what you are doing by note or speak to them) enables your child to feel connected to the parents as they are in the classroom.
As a teacher, one tip I recommend to cut down on a child’s anxiety is humor, especially on the way to school. Children love “knock knock” jokes.
An openness to learning requires optimism and encouragement from we adults. I love to observe parents of children encourage their children just to do the best they can with subjects. It’s fun and challenging to break down hard subjects into parts a child can do well with each part.
Having success in small steps encourages the child to know they can do it. For instance, in memorizing a week’s spelling word list, etc. truly encourages the joy of learning. In being open to learning, we need to encourage children not to fear rejection or failure. Giving children hope by praising them when they have worked so hard on their assignments builds their confidence.
Sensitivity is where teachers and parents focus on the individual child and their needs for learning in order to succeed. Children love to be needed and help. They want to feel significant and to be needed. Significance builds confidence in the learning process of children.
I hope these few general pointers help.
Pinyerd has taught young children in the early childhood classroom for 34 years as well as outreaching to the elderly in intergenerational settings. She has taught and outreached in the schools in Opelika and Baldwin County. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood education as well as a bachelor’s degree in family and child development both from Auburn University. Her husband is the late Carl Pinyerd and she has one son, Gus Pinyerd who has taught her so much about learning. Classroom Observer is here to serve the community in sharing the wonderful teaching programs in our local public schools, private schools, and homeschools. The column is provided to enrich the education of our children, youth, and families. Classroom Observer welcomes educational news, school news, pictures, and events by e-mailing her at


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