Baileigh Beebe, public information office intern, Cache County School District
How important is it for kids to be in school? While missing a day of school now and then for illness or appointments doesn’t seem like a big deal, frequent absences can have a significant impact on your child’s learning and future. Good attendance is just as crucial in elementary school as it is during a student’s senior year of high school. Several research studies have shown that students who prioritize attendance increase their chances of being successful learners.
Starting good attendance habits as early as kindergarten leads to several positive long-term outcomes. Students have better academic performance, more work options, higher earning potential, increased opportunities for higher education, and more fully developed life skills that can positively influence health and economic decisions. By encouraging your child to be present in the classroom to learn, you are setting them up for success in whatever path they choose.
When students are absent, it impacts their academic development. Especially in the early grades, students learn fundamental skills such as reading. Poor attendance can impact future learning and performance. Additionally, missing school means missing critical instruction from their teacher. “Doing work at home due to an absence is helpful, but never replaces the skillful, rich instruction a teacher gives during an in-class lesson,” Glen Harris, principal of Wellsville Elementary School, said.
Absences not only impact your child’s education but also affect your child’s teacher and other students in the classroom. Absences put an extra burden on teachers. When students are in class, teachers can spend more time and energy preparing better lessons for all their students rather than helping a handful of children catch up on what they missed.
As a parent, you play an essential role in ensuring your child is at school and learning. One of the most important things you can do is have open conversations with your child, explaining why school is important and why attendance matters. You can help them get excited about school by asking questions about their day and what they’re learning. If your child never wants to go to school and seems to resist every morning, that might signal something deeper is going on, such as anxiety or bullying. It’s important to ask questions and listen to your child, so you can understand what is influencing their desire to be in school. Then, you can better help your child, as well as reach out to teachers and staff at your child’s school for support and help.
Another thing parents can do is schedule appointments and vacations around the school calendar as much as possible. “These attendance decisions are best made by parents, and we respect that. We would hope, as parents plan for events, they would consider the importance of school attendance and how not being in school multiple days can affect their child’s learning, their child’s teachers, and the other students in their child’s class,” Mr. Harris said. When making appointments, try to schedule them for afterschool hours. If you can’t, have your child attend school for as much of the day as possible.
Little things parents can do to encourage good attendance include having a routine bedtime so your child gets enough sleep, and getting things ready for school the night before, such as packing backpacks. This will make your morning run smoother and help your child feel prepared for school.
We want our students to be successful learners and do their very best. For that to happen, they need to be in school and surrounded by our incredible students, teachers, and staff. By prioritizing good attendance, you are setting your children up for a successful future.