Janine Saunders, a teacher at Benjamin Pine School in Pinetown spoke to parents about their children returning to the mainstream environment.
Although going the Remedial route is frequently difficult for the parents, once they see how their children begin to blossom in this safe environment, the prospect of returning to mainstream is scary. The children carry memories of the struggles they had at mainstream school and may be frightened.
Fortunately they have frequently developed so much confidence that they are ready for the challenge and look forward to it.
So, who makes the decision to send the child back to mainstream? The Remedial Educators make the decision if they believe they have done all they can to enhance the progress of the child. Parents need to listen carefully to what the Remedial Educators tell them. Make notes, ask lots of questions. Put your own emotional issues aside and remember the decision has to be in the best interests of the child.
Once the decision has been made, make appointments with the schools suggested by the Remedial Units. Ignore parking lot gossip - both positive and negative - about a school. All schools have their good and bad bits. This is a stressful time and you are likely to forget what is said so make notes of your questions. Don't project your fears onto your child.
If children have been in a Remedial Unit attached to a mainstream school they are often at an advantage as they see the increased class size and experience more of the mainstream life that they will encounter when they return.
Walk around the school a few days before the start of term so it won't be such a strange place.
Children often return to mainstream at Grade 4, the Intermediate Phase and is a significant jump from the Foundation Phase. More will be expected of them in terms of volume of work and more "learning areas". Classes will be bigger, report backs to parents fewer. Parents need to let go a bit more.
Reading is critical and children who have been through the Remedial units are now often at an advantage.
Let your child join a sports or cultural club where they will make friends and build confidence.
Children are incredibly resilient. Make this a positive time.
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