Asset Corner #117
SHOW KIDS YOU CARE: NOTICE WHEN THEY GROW. September’s Asset Category: COMMITMENT TO LEARNING. Education has improved immensely in the past 20 years. Today, more young people are taking high-level courses, fewer of them are dropping out, math and science scores are on the rise, and more students are entering college after high school. But that doesn’t mean a commitment to learning happens naturally in all young people. Instilling this important trait involves a combination of values and skills that include the desire to succeed in school, a sense of the lasting importance of learning, and a belief in one’s own ability. This commitment is strongly influenced by the school environment and relationships with family and peers. This column’s focus will be on…..Asset #24 – Bonding to School
Finding a connection with school
Why do some kids drop out of school and others stay in and even excel? Experts say kids who don’t like school and choose not to attend are disinterested, bored, and feel unconnected. On the other hand, those who stay in school and do well have the opposite experience. They like it there. They have people who enjoy seeing them every day and who miss them when they’re absent. They also have friends and family who are proud of what they do at school. These young people are stimulated and challenged, have fun, and enjoy learning at school.
Here are the facts
Research shows that young people who care about their school are less likely to be involved in violence or the use of alcohol and other drugs. They also are more likely to become good leaders, value diversity, and succeed in school. About 52 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say they care about their schools, according to Search Institute surveys.
Tips for building this asset
Parents and others in the community can make a big difference in improving schools and making them caring places for young people. If you know a young person who doesn’t like school, ask her or him why. Remember that for students, part of bonding to school involves knowing someone in their school cares about them. Share your experiences from when you were in school—such as finding an adult or a peer who cared about you—with the young people you know who are struggling to fit in.
Also try this
In your home and family: Tell your child about one adult and one peer who cared about you when you were in school. Help your child identify which adults and friends at school he or she likes best and why.
In your neighborhood and community: Be an involved partner with the school. Volunteer to tutor in an after-school program or as an athletic coach. Use these opportunities to bond with students, helping them in turn to bond to school. If an employer, consider releasing employees at lunchtime to read to elementary school students.
In your school or youth program: Identify young people who do not have an involved adult in their lives and find ways to help them connect to a caring, available adult.
Visit www.parmacityschools.org/character, www.search-institute.org/assets for more information about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them. Or go here http://www.parentfurther.com/ for great asset-based parenting tips, tricks, activities and ideas.
Community Volunteer/Youth Advocate