September is Attendance Awareness Month, and as the school year begins we would like to point out the importance of school attendance, even in the earliest years.
Did you know that absenteeism in the first month of school can predict poor attendance throughout the school year? Half the students who miss 2-4 days in September go on to miss nearly a month of school (Baltimore Education Research Consortium).
Many studies show that attending a high quality early learning program strengthens school readiness and long term academic performance. Regular attendance in these programs is critically important for children to become successful life-long learners. Not only will good attendance help build good habits for the children, it can also help alleviate academic problems later on.
The Brightside Academy Early Learning Program is designed to deliver skills that build on one another. If a child is absent, they often miss the foundation skills they need to learn the next skill. It can take days and even weeks to then teach the child that skills and catch them up. By that time, they have missed other skills. If they fall behind too much, they may never fully catch up.
If children are regularly absent, they may not be fully prepared for school. Preschool is a time for building the social, emotional, cognitive, and language skills needed for school readiness. “A growing body of research documents how many youngsters are chronically absent, meaning they miss 10 percent or more of the school year due to excused or unexcused absences. The research also shows how these missed days as early as preschool translate into weaker reading skills” (Attendance in the Early Grades: Why it Matters for Reading).
The best way to help us prepare your children for school is to make sure they are consistently attending so they are able to learn all of the necessary skills. Here are a few tips from Attanceworks that can help prepare your child for preschool and ensure attendance:
- Know the first day of school and make sure their child has the required immunizations and materials.
- Avoid letting their child stay home unless he or she is truly sick. Sometimes complaints of a stomachache or headache can be a sign of anxiety and not a reason to stay home.
- Talk to teachers, school counselors, or other parents for advice on how to alleviate a child’s anxiety about going to school or other issues.
- Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbor or another parent.
- Avoid scheduling medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session