Families, Families Hub, Partner 15 September 2023

Back to school: Laying the Foundations for Success with Dr Kathy Weston

As parents, we all want our children to thrive academically, but what can we do at home to help them hit the ground running at the start of a new academic year? How can we ensure that our children feel happy and motivated to learn? And what does research suggest is optimal when supporting our children?

These are just some of the questions I and my colleagues at Tooled Up and ISEB are often asked as we move into a new academic year. Parents and guardians are hugely powerful influences and can greatly shape their children’s appetite for learning; they have the power to create and foster a positive home learning environment from which children can flourish, igniting their intellectual curiosity.

Optimal support might sound like hard work, but the tips, resources and activities included in the Parent Power Toolkit, developed by Tooled Up and ISEB, are designed to be impactful, easy to apply in practice and fun! Learning and preparing for exams can be tough, but our tips help promote children’s engagement whilst empowering parents. The packs are designed to fuel positive conversations between parents and children, reduce parental and child anxiety and equip the whole family with the tools and mechanisms to successfully navigate these periods of stress.

Let’s take a look at an example. Say your child has an upcoming exam that forms part of the admissions process for their chosen senior school. By prioritising consistency in family life, a quality sleep pattern, and regular hearty meals and snacks, you are already setting your child up for success and ensuring they have the strongest chance of learning and focusing in the classroom. 

Did you know that the way in which you praise your child can affect their level of motivation? By focusing on effort rather than performance and by being specific and sincere, we can help our children feel they are making progress, and that feels good! By normalising mistakes in family life, we create an environment where mistakes are accepted and seen as part of learning. When children show the first signs of stress, parents can learn to help them turn worries into wonders and get anxiety down to manageable levels. 

The four-part Parent Power Toolkit is chocked full of practical resources and tips to support parents and activities for your children to work on directly. We designed these packs to support parents, and the content enclosed provides activities for your children to work on independently in addition to whole family activities. We know that new and enriching conversations will flow between parent and child as you engage with our foundational pack, Laying the Foundations for the Admissions Journey. Prepare to be amazed!

Find out more and access the first Parent Power Toolkit – Laying the Foundations for the Admissions Journey via the ISEB shop. 

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