You know when you show up to a meeting about 10 minutes late and you’re totally thrown off? Everyone is already working, or deep in conversation and you have no idea what you missed?
It’s tough for an adult to bounce back.
Now, imagine you’re a five or six year old child—and you enter your classroom late. Even if it’s just by a few minutes, you’re already out of your groove.
“I think tardies play a huge component in a child’s success,” says Allison Norgard, Principal of Sessums Elementary in Riverview. “When a child enters the class late, everyone is settled and ready to go. That child has to hurry and adapt. They’re really trying to play catch up all day long—even if they’re just 5 or 10 minutes late.”
This started as an article about the importance of attendance—and it still is. But what was so interesting during the interview with Mrs. Norgard, was her intensity about students arriving ON TIME to school every day. She explained when a child shows up late to class, it not only throws THEM off but it also disrupts the entire class. Everyone has to wait as the teacher tries to help the tardy student catch up.
And if it’s that hard for a student to catch up when they’re tardy, just IMAGINE what it’s like for a child to recover from missing one or two days of class.
Mrs. Norgard says attendance isn’t just important, she uses the word critical. “Not only do the academics continue to move but the social culture continues to move. The child returns to class and there’s something new on the walls, or a story that was read, or a project that they haven’t participated in. It makes them feel like they weren’t part of what happened.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, missing just two days a month of school can result in problems both academically and socially. Children who are chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade are less likely to read on grade level by the third grade.
Here are five tips to getting your child to school on time, every day:
Now, if your child IS truly sick, keep them at home. However, there are ways to keep them from falling too far behind, “Communicate with your child’s teacher—email is the best method,” says Mrs. Norgard. “Ask if there is anything the child can do once they’re feeling better. We have teachers who email work home, or have work ready in the office that can be picked up.”
And while YOU work to get your child to school, know that schools are working every day to make classrooms as welcoming as possible.
“We want kids to WANT to come to school,” concludes Mrs. Norgard. “We want to develop such a deep love of learning, and such an importance for being at school, that they don’t want to miss a single day!”