Most days from September through June, more than two million kids make their way to a school in Ontario. A majority will progress through school and graduate with their high-school diploma.
But for a lot of youth, days spent in a classroom mean frustration, distraction and angst – not just for the student, but also for his or her teachers and parents. This can stem from any number of issues: disruptions at home, learning disabilities, mental health issues, or simply a need for a different style of learning.
Identifying the right solution for specific needs
A 2009 article from the Toronto Star’s ParentCentral.ca cited a number of reports that showed “poverty and its effects on learning are an increasing concern. There are higher incidences of attention and behavioural problems. Statistics show roughly one in five Ontario children and youth has a mental health problem and, often, these are concurrent with learning disabilities.”
Sometimes, a different approach is needed.
“The educational system can’t meet every student’s needs at the same time,” noted Terry Stevenson, corporate director of Applewood Academy for Progressive Learning. Applewood Academy is an independent school in Belleville that focuses on individual learning plans that help youth succeed in school. It has recently worked with an increasing number of students from both local school boards and other independent schools like Albert College.
“Applewood offers a different learning environment, and with the professional resources that we have on hand, we can work with each individual as well as their parents and teachers to better address specific challenges,” Stevenson said.
Applewood offers a solution, he noted, that can help kids adjust back into the system. “It’s important to note that we don’t offer tutoring, however,” Stevenson added. “What we offer are mental health or behavioural strategies that can assist in the classroom.”
A solid education provides a good foundation
Having an education is one of the best indicators of success, leading to higher rates of employment, earning power and independence. Outside of Applewood’s approach in the classroom there are things you can do at home if you’re concerned about youth in your care:
- 5 Tips for Behaviour Management at Home explains how you can adopt some of the same strategies used in our classrooms to approach disruptive behaviours.
- Childhood Nutrition Impacts Education highlights how critical lifestyle and good nutrition is. Diet is one of the first things we review when we start working with kids.
What advice would you offer to parents advocating on behalf of a child?