How to be objective, practical and realistic about your child’s report- these thoughts may be helpful…

What is the purpose of a pre-school report? Essentially, to give you up-to-date information on your child’s all-around development.

If you have chosen your child’s school with due care, ensuring that all the teachers have appropriate qualifications and that the programme is active and age-appropriate, yet extending, you will be able to take their comments in good faith, trusting their knowledge, understanding and experience.

However, it should be remembered that the teacher makes her assessment based on your child in relation to what is age-appropriate, and within a group context. Obviously, your child’s performance and behaviour in the one-to-one or family/out-of-school situation is going to be different – you will be prompted by his involvement, reinforcing her ongoing steps to ensure success and also bringing to bear your parental expectations.

Teachers teach classes – whilst they make every effort to give individual consideration, children need to share attention, learn to tolerate and accept others’ contributions and points of view, follow instructions independently to complete tasks, etc.

An experienced teacher will be able to tell you about your child’s potential, and this is likely to reflect accurately what you notice and identify but your child in the classroom may be a very different kettle of fish! And your child will continue to learn in classes henceforth – he/she needs to develop knowledge and attitudes that will stand the test of time, through school and beyond…

After all, in the bigger picture, it is your child, why would a teacher want to make a negative comment about your child? What does she have to gain?

If you think about it in the cold light of day – teachers do not have the final responsibility for your child; they merely share a season.
It is for this reason that you can believe and trust the point of view of teachers.

They are attempting to make an accurate, informative and truthful observation of your child. Hopefully, the message is delivered with honesty and grace but teachers have no reason to be untruthful, unkind or unloving. (And if they do, those people need psychological help and should not be teachers anyway!)

In other words, the teacher has no axe to grind, she wants to contribute positively to the child’s progress and development, to alert parents to the need for extension or intervention whilst giving a realistic PERSPECTIVE on the here and now, so believe her!

Acting on this professional advice can change significantly your child’s educational future and life-long learning. Your child deserves to flourish and you have a responsibility in making this happen. Your child will be the BENEFACTOR and early intervention, whilst being difficult to accept and come to terms with initially, can save you heartache and longer-term financial duress later on.

And just in closing – a pre-school report that has only

  • pictures with a tick system or
  • listed criteria assessed on a five-point scale, without supporting comments, is, in my view, inadequate information, nor does it reflect professionalism on the part of the teachers and the school. As a fee-paying customer, you deserve to be informed in detail about your child’s progress and development.