Social skills

Parents of students at Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy review techniques on how to teach their children how to follow verbal instructions on the first request. The school is offering regular classes to parents on how to teach their children social skills.

“If you want to change behavior, the first thing you need to do is develop the relationship.”

This is a slogan Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy teacher Becki Cooper has been implementing in her classroom since attending the “10 Simple Lessons for Better Behavior in the Classroom” professional development training led by educational consultant Dan St. Romain. The idea of the training is to help teachers learn and use simple strategies to support and guide student behaviors in the classroom.

Communicating with children in a way they can understand to strengthen relationships really struck a chord with Cooper. So, she began applying these skills in the classroom and has been committed to making a positive change for her students.

Seeing success, Mae Stevens started employing these strategies campuswide. The school hosted a workshop to encourage student relationship building and held a social skills training with parents.

“Coming from the classroom, I really wanted to share some of the skills our staff learned with the parents so they could understand the language that we use at school,” Petty said. “When the idea of teaching parents these same social skill lessons came up, it just made sense to share what we knew.”

Nearly 70 parents attended the first training, eager to learn how to get their children to follow directions right away, and the response has been noticeable in the classroom. Teacher Cori Wilkerson said that since these trainings, the school has seen a major transformation in student behavior.

“When I was growing up, I used to hear the saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ Wilkerson said. “Everyone needs to be on the same page. Trainings that work can accomplish that.”

Parents got free books they could read to develop a set of skills, along with ways on how to talk to their children about the lessons.

“I tried to express to the families how important that quality time reading and having conversations is at this age,” Petty said. “Even though they may not realize it, the skills they are learning in these workshops are teaching them to build those very important communication skills that a lot of parents and kids are lacking these days.”

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