To thrive means to prosper, flourish and grow vigorously, in other words, it means to develop and grow appropriately, which is necessary in order for a child to succeed at school.
Isn’t this what most parents want? But how come we don’t all get this? Basically, schools are set up to get information across in a certain way and not all children are geared to learn this way. Every child has a different learning style (see Learning Styles and Exam Techniques article) and it is essential that this is identified and built upon. But there are general things that parents can do. Success in life and at school is about more than just the child’s intellectual ability or IQ, it is essential that we consider a child’s emotional intelligence as well (see Emotional Intelligence article). Children have talents in many different areas but these must be identified and nurtured if we are going to help children to improve their areas of weakness. It is essential that they feel they are worthwhile and capable as this builds their confidence and allows them to have the assurance to attempt to unfamiliar things (see Self-Esteem article).
Thriving at school is the result of getting the right combination of “switched on teachers, supportive parents and enthusiastic learners” according to Dr’s John Irvine and John Stewart (March 2008). It’s also about learning how to follow a system and specific routines and doing what is expected, which, as any parent will know does not always come naturally to children!
School is becoming more formal at an earlier age in terms of what our children are expected to achieve. Preschool, known as grade R or grade 0 is no longer just a nursery school year of painting, playing and making friends. Our children are expected to sit at tables and work for extended periods of time and it is apparent that many children are not ready for this (see School Readiness article). The tasks are no longer as much fun to learn and so tasks such as the 3 R’s, reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic, become a real challenge for many. Teachers and many parents have great expectations the children, in fact school is becoming exceptionally competitive, but for many of our children their groundwork is sketchy or incomplete simply because it is presented at a time before the child is ready to work with it. This means we could be breeding and training a group of children who are resentful and reluctant to learn.