HOLY SPIRIT CATHOLIC PRIMARY | The day grandparents came to school

We celebrated GrandparentsDay last Friday, September 13, and hundreds of grandparents keenly attended the school to spend time with their much loved grandchildren -- the pupils.

The morning began with a liturgy in the school hall where the school community prayed in thanksgiving for the gift of grandparents.

In poetry, story, song and iMovie there was a clear message about the important role grandparents play in the lives of their families, especially with their grandchildren.

Then the grandparents visited the classrooms to see their grandchildren's learning in action.

Morning tea and a small gift for our special guests completed the special morning.

Of course, the day wouldn't have been complete without the principal's grandparent jokes that proved a challenge to answer but brought much laughter!

Research at the University of Oxford has shown how grandparents play a vital role in children's wellbeing.

With changing family patterns, increased life expectancy, growing numbers of dual-worker households and higher rates of family breakdown, grandparents play an increasing role in their grandchildren's lives.

The university's research shows that a high level of grandparental involvement increases children's wellbeing.

A study of more than 1500 children showed that those with a high level of grandparental involvement had fewer emotional and behavioural problems.

Grandparents play an important part in the lives of their families, especially their grandchildren.

Even the surliest teenagers will usually speak to their grandparents with respect and listen to them with interest.

The gap that widens between children and their parents often narrows between grandparents and grandchildren.

The important role grandparents play in forming attitudes and influencing behaviour can't be under-estimated.

Many grandparents today are also caregivers for their children's children.

Whether you see your grandchildren often, or just occasionally, you can help them succeed at school by helping them understand four simple truths:

Education is vital

The future belongs to the qualified and skilled. Leaving school early or without establishing effective work habits will most probably lead to a lifetime of disadvantage.

Take an interest in your grandchildren's school and schoolwork. Know who their teachers are. Ask to see their books so you can admire and praise them. Talk about your own positive experiences of school and how education helped shape your life.

Tell stories about successful people from your schooldays. Show your admiration for people who read, write and speak well. Link good education with success in life.

Teachers deserve our respect

Always speak respectfully yourself about teachers and principals. Hold them up to your grandchildren as people to be admired. Never criticise or denigrate them in front of children.

Rather than deride the teacher's spelling or arithmetic, ask your grandchildren what they are learning. Resist the temptation to make unfavourable comparisons between modern schools and your own schooldays. Everything in your life has changed and even made progress so you can have faith that education has improved, too.

Speak positively about teaching as a worthwhile and essential profession. Praise scholars and scholarship. Children who do well at school usually respect and like their teachers.

Grandparents are important to their families. Even the surliest teenagers will usually speak to them with respect and listen to them with interest. The gap that widens between children and parents often narrows between children and grandparents. Never under-estimate the grandparent's role in forming children's attitudes and influencing their behaviour.


Everyone can learn

We know everyone, unless intellectually disabled, can learn. Some people just take longer than others. Generally children who do badly at school or at maths or spelling lack the skills to learn so lose motivation and give up.

You know the value of perseverance in your life so will have stories you can pass on to your grandchildren to encourage them to stick at the work they find difficult until they master it.

Too many people believe only brainy students do well at school. That's not true. The students who succeed have goals, back up those goals with study plans, make the most of classroom time and persevere until they have mastered the work.

School success needs hard work

Even the brainiest students work hard. Their success doesn't happen by chance.

There's no learning angel sitting on your shoulder and feeding knowledge into your brain.

There's nothing to be proud of in being no good at maths, for instance.

You can help by talking about paying attention in class, doing homework, studying for tests, being determined to do well, self-respect and pride. You have your own stories about how hard work and determined effort helped you achieve your goals.

Grandparents should never under-estimate their influence on their grandchildren.

Your stories, your experiences, your loving words of advice can be enough to change the direction of a young person's life.

At Holy Spirit School we recognise the importance of grandparents for so many reasons and our grandparents' morning was a simple way of expressing our thanks and appreciation to them.

The grandparents said they were honoured to be at the school and their grandchildren were thrilled they were there.

Br Nicholas Harsas is the principal of Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School at Carnes Hill.