Fearless and Focused

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Breaking down the brick wall to encourage your child’s engagement in class can be as simple as boosting their confidence, as Sarah Vercoe discovers.

I was a less-than-stellar student in school. So much so, in fact, my teachers warned I wouldn’t amount to much. 

My parents did their best to guide me on the path to academic excellence. They enrolled me into one of the Coast’s most prestigious private schools; sat with me night-after-night in an attempt to instill even a skerrick of interest in my schoolwork. But nothing worked. 

No matter what they tried my grades just weren’t up to scratch. My interest in learning just wasn’t there and my engagement in school was very low. 

Now, as a parent with a child who will be starting school next year, I am terrified my daughter will follow in my lacklustre academic footsteps. 

The older she gets the more of me I see in her. She’s inquisitive about the world around her and asks lots of questions, from how the clouds are made to why are ladybirds red, but if we try to teach her something she has no interest in we are met with a brick-wall of resistance. 

So, armed with the anxiety of a parent who sees the inevitability of their child turning out just like them, I have a plan. 

Firstly acknowledging that disengaged children need more support than what a classroom environment can provide. 

It isn’t any fault of the teachers, it is simply that some kids need one-on-one support. And so, when my mini-me heads off to school next year, it is our plan to complement her schooling with a tutor. 

Kip McGrath Director, Rita Krause said it was never too early or too late, to provide support for your child on their learning journey. 

“We assess each child individually to identify any gaps in their learning, so we can tailor a program which will boost ability and confidence,” says Rita. 

“Children can easily get lost in the overwhelming world of learning for may varied reasons, which puts them at risk of falling behind.” she says. “It’s about providing the skills and confidence to cope with classroom work independently.” 

Another benefit of private tutoring is that it is easier to recognise whether a child is understanding a concept.

Poor engagement can also lead to a lack of interest and poor effort. Rita says one of the main reasons that children struggle to engage is confidence. If they miss a step anywhere along the way some children just don’t have the confidence to ask for help. This can manifest into disinterest and distraction, which can result in a child being labelled as ‘trouble’. 

“Kip McGrath was founded with the premise that personalised tuition in a small-group environment is the ideal learning setting because children don’t feel as intimidated to ask for assistance,” Rita says. “It can help them build confidence and also ensures they don’t miss a step.”

Rita says this progression towards an intentional goal helps children realise their true academic ability. 

“Once they understand all the puzzle pieces, they can confidently complete any task,” she says. 

Like many parents, it is this self-assurance I want my daughter to have throughout her entire academic journey. The kind of confidence where she won’t feel lost in the sea of children, too scared to ask for a life ring. But more than this, it’s our hope that complementing her education with a dedicated tutor will help enliven her curiosity and apply it to her schooling. 

“A big part of sparking a child’s interest in learning is making it fun,” says Rita. She suggests parents indirectly incorporate learning into every-day activities. 

“When parents include activities that naturally involve academic learning, like the weekly shop for maths; or reading before bed for english, they’ll start to notice a pattern of when their child loses interest,” she said.

“Finding these breaks in interest can help your child’s tutor work towards a dedicated goal to turn that around.”

This approach makes sense and I see it going a long way in breaking down any brick walls my daughter might build when she’s in school. 

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