When my son was young, I started the school year every year with a letter to the teacher. The intention was to help my sensitive child connect with the teacher early on, plus ensure that he’d have the support he needed for any challenges.
In hindsight, I think it helped even more than I realized it would at the time.
For example, my letter included things such as:
- This is who he is (e.g., he’s super sensitive, he’s funny and loves humour, he loves to draw and read, etc.)
- These are his gifts (e.g., he notices and feels other people’s feelings and is empathetic towards others, he’s a deep thinker, he’s creative)
- These are his challenges and what you can do to support them (e.g., he often needs to move around during class time–asking him to be a ‘helper’ is one strategy that keeps him engaged and participating in class)
- When you see (‘x’ behaviour), it often means ‘y’ (e.g., he’s easily overwhelmed at times and you’ll be able to tell he’s overwhelmed because he does ‘’y’ behaviour; use ‘z’ strategy to help him regulate and calm himself)
- If he’s not engaged, you can reconnect with him more easily by …. (e.g., by using humour or through play)
I also always did a brief check-in with the teacher after school, a couple of times a week at the beginning of the school year. I asked questions such as:
- is he engaged?
- does he seem to be participating socially?
- are there any problems?
I also invited the teacher to call me if there were any problems or she had any questions.
By the end of the first month, the teacher was used to my check-ins, and I could often just catch her eye, raise my eyebrows in a questioning look, and indicate “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” for a quick check in on a busy day. Most of the time she’d smile and nod to affirm all was going smoothly, and my son and I would head out for the day.
Establishing a collaborative relationship with the teacher at the beginning of the year benefited my son because the teacher had the ‘heads up’ about my son–how to connect with him and how to support him with any challenges. They also felt more comfortable reaching out to me for dealing with any challenges–and as a result I usually knew about any difficulties early on instead of after they’d been brewing for a while, and we could collaborate and come up with a strategy to support him.
How has the school year started off for your child? Have they been able to connect with the teacher fairly well?