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Your Child's First Report Card
By National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

Parents may have anxieties when their child starts school, and are excited to learn how their child is doing in school and support his learning. Your child will receive her first report card and be graded on her school performance for the first time. This is a great opportunity to learn about your child's strengths and identify and areas he may need help with, and open up communication with your child's teacher. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) offers suggestions for parents to prepare for this benchmark in school:

Take time to communicate with both your child and his teacher about what is going on in class. When you know how your child is doing in school, report cards will be less of a surprise.

* Talk with your child each day about class assignments and what she learned.
* Communicate with you child's teacher on a regular basis. This can easily be done through a phone call or email.
* Offer praise and encouragement. This will help your child's confidence and motivation in his school work.

Know when report cards come out and prepare with your child. Remember that your child may not be aware of what report cards are or why she is getting one.

* Discuss what the report card measures and what the grades or comments mean.
* Before the report card comes, allow your child to tell you how he thinks he's doing in school.
* Remember that this is only one measurement of your child's strengths and weaknesses in school.
* Use the information to praise your child's strengths and work with her in the areas she needs to improve.

Take an active role in your child's school all year around.

* Attend parent-teacher conferences and other school sponsored parent activities and get to know your child's teacher.
* Check the school calendar for report card dates and other school events.
* Always ask the teacher if there are grades or policies you don't understand.

Invest time in your child's education in addition to his schoolwork.

* Introduce your child to other educational experiences to foster her interest in learning.
* Read to and with your child regularly.
* Limit the amount of time your child watches television or plays video and computer games.
* Establish a family routine. This includes time for homework and studying, as well as eating meals, doing chores, and going to be at a set time.

Use these tips to be prepared each time report cards come out, and throughout the year to track your child's progress and get him any help he needs. Stay involved in your child's education and help her succeed in school! Early Years Are Learning Years is a regular series from NAEYC (www.naeyc.org) providing families with tips for giving their young children a great start on learning.

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