‘Parental involvement crucial’

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—-Parents share advice on how to support NGSA pupils  

Behind every National Grade Six Assesment (NGSA) top performer at the Arthur Chung Conference Center on Friday was a guardian who was overjoyed with their performance.

The Village Voice News spoke with several parents about the support they provided and what advice they would leave to others that could make a positive difference in their child’s academic performance.

Oneika Edwards, mother of J’Kell Whyte of Success Elementary (Village Voice News photo)

Giving advice was Althea Cruickshand, a teacher and the mother of Sabastian Khan who topped Region Seven with 495 marks. She said that in all aspects of a child’s education, parental involvement at home is crucial.
“Parental involvement plays a big role, especially when you’re dealing with homework and assignments. Especially with Maths and language, you have to do a lot of practice,” she said.


As a teacher, she said that she noticed that some pupils did not complete homework given for one reason or the other, which is critical to verify that they have grasped a concept.

In some cases, she said that this was influenced by the readjustment back to the classroom setting after the children had been out of school for months or had gotten used to online teaching. “They need that extra encouragement and push at home,” she advised.

Similarly, Oneika Edwards, mother of J’Kell Whyte of Success Elementary, who tied with five others in the fifth national position, said that her advice to parents is to do their part to pick up where teachers have left off.

“We, as parents, have to take that first step and sit with our kids, talk to them, make sure they work and study. Sometimes you can give them their spare but you have to waver it,” she said.

On the other hand, Paul Mc Arthur, father of Joshua McArthur who tied with five others for the fifth position nationally, reminded parents to know the difference between encouragement and force.

Advising against the latter, he said: “I trusted his judgement. He wanted to do the school work and I didn’t have to force him. I think sometimes the parents should allow their children to want it rather than forcing them, try to encourage them.”

Every time Joshua was successful academically, McArthur said that he and his wife practised rewarding him which helped to build his motivation.

“I think that of itself helps them to go more into whatever it is they’re doing — academic, sports, whatever. Just give them a chance to want it rather than forcing them,” he said.

Sharing similar sentiments was Colin Timmerman, father of Parris Timmerman of Chateau Margot Primary who placed second in the country, along with Deja Datt, with 523 marks.

Joshua McArthur and his parents (Village Voice News photo)

“I would advise them to believe in your children. Never tell them that they can’t do it. Children have their strengths and they have their weaknesses. When they achieve even small things, for example, the mock exams, you support them and encourage them. That’s what we did for Parris and even her weaknesses, we encouraged her also to work, but we did it in a tactful way and not to pressure her,” he said.

Meanwhile, his advice to the Ministry of Education is to continue its good work. He said that he is thankful for past papers, QuizMe and other platforms that helped his daughter excel.

In other cases, children can be very self-driven and may even practice self-control and discipline academically on their own. This was the experience of Navenita Persaud, the mother of Chelsea Persaud of Dharmic Rama Krishana who placed fifth nationally along with five others.

Still, nonetheless advised that parents in such situations still ensure that the resources provided by the Ministry of Education are made available to their children such as QuizMe and other television programmes. Persaud also commended the work of teachers for being patient with pupils and understanding their needs.

“I don’t think the pandemic should hinder any child from performing their best, but it’s a collaborative effort. It’s an effort that the parents, along with the teachers, need to play their part. Parents need to supervise and check up on their child often,” she advised.

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