Parents: Why School Attendance Is Important
But why is school attendance so important?
You know that the primary goal of attending school is academic achievement. Your child’s regular attendance at school is critical to his or her understanding of the academic concepts taught in school. Regular absences and even tardiness can deny children the knowledge they need in order to succeed in their classes. Children who feel that they are always behind may find it difficult to motivate themselves to catch up.
School Community Involvement
Children who are not a regular part of the school community miss out on valuable opportunities to become a part of the school community. Many extracurricular activities require consistent — if not exceptional — attendance. Children who are absent frequently miss out on the chance to play sports, participate in school plays and bands, and even lose out on opportunities to become members of school clubs and social networks.
Older children in middle school and high school use their school networks to jump ahead into college and beyond. High school students in particular may miss out on chances to meet with college representatives, school guidance counselors and other recruiters.
Schools are more than just institutions of learning. For example, in the upper grades, schools become giant networks that connect students to mentors and other important role models. Without these connections, students may lose out on valuable opportunities for future growth.
Absences Lead To Other Problems
Academic achievement is not the only benefit at stake. Students who drop out of school early often have a prior history of chronic poor attendance and tardiness. This negative attendance record may start as early as kindergarten.
What You Can Do
There are a number of actions you can take to encourage your child to have good attendance. First, show your child that school attendance is a priority. Avoid scheduling vacations and other events in the middle of the school year. Do not take your child out of school except when important. Look for dentists and doctors who can see your child on weekends. Avoid making medical appointments during the week.
Emphasize the importance of the school year routine. Get your child to bed early on school nights, have your child eat a healthy breakfast every morning, and make sure that he or she sets out for school on time every day. Establishing these routines and priorities will show your child from an early age that schooling is a priority in your household.
Take an active role in your child’s school whenever possible. Volunteer in your child’s classroom and go to parent-teacher meetings. Keep appointments with teachers and school administrators. If possible, see your child off to school every day before going to work yourself. Check your child’s homework, read all letters home from the teacher, and sign forms whenever necessary. Pay attention to the requests that the teacher sends home. These subtle details will show your child that you respect and prioritize his or her education.