Published: September 9, 2019
How early should tutoring begin? How do you know when tutoring is necessary? Should elementary school children receive tutoring if they aren’t facing major learning struggles?
If you have young children, you have probably been confronted with one or all of these questions at some point in the past couple of years. Responsible parents often struggle to discern whether a period of lacklustre academic performance is something that can simply be rectified by spending a few more hours per week on homework, or whether it speaks to a deeper struggle to understand and keep up with the material.
Because tutoring is often associated with overcoming major learning struggles, parents may be reluctant to bring on a tutor if they don’t think the problem is sufficiently serious. And while most parents understand that the elementary school years are absolutely critical for setting up academic success later in life, they may also feel that childhood years are a precious opportunity for learning through play, something that is made difficult if children are spending long hours being tutored after class.
But there may be less of a reason to be concerned than many parents believe. Tutoring doesn’t need to involve intensive daily sessions to be effective, and even students who are performing well in school can often benefit from the added support that tutoring professionals can provide (you can click here to learn why).
If you have children enrolled in elementary school and you’ve been wondering whether or not they could benefit from extra tutoring, here are three ways that experienced tutors can help elementary school-aged children thrive.
Tutoring Provides Support During Key Periods of Development
Between the ages of six, when Ontario law requires children to enter Grade 1, and the age of eleven, when most of them will enter middle school, kids undergo one of the most profound periods of intellectual and social development they will experience in their lifetime. And it is during the course of these years that children will learn the basic literacy and numeracy skills they will rely on in order to navigate the world around them and succeed in their professional lives.
Unfortunately, as The Globe and Mail reported last year, one in four Ontario postsecondary students lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. While these shortcomings are likely due to a wide range of factors, this depressing statistic underscores that parents can not necessarily rely on the provincial education system alone if they want their children to be prepared for academic success.
One of the greatest benefits that come with hiring a tutor to help your child work on their reading, writing, and arithmetic in these crucial elementary years is that tutors provide much-needed extra support as they try to master key skills they will rely on for years to come.
Tutoring Helps Build Confidence
Researchers who study the impact of confidence on learning outcomes often point out that there is a difference between self-esteem and confidence. Teaching children to feel good about their performance isn’t as helpful as some teachers and parenting gurus suggest, but helping them boost their confidence actually does have a tangible impact on performance.
This is in part because making mistakes is essential to the learning process, and more confident students are more likely to bounce back from making a mistake to try again.
Imagine there are two students, one of whom is more confident than the other. Both are being taught a phonics approach to reading, which involves “sounding out” words on the page basic on the sound that each letter makes. The more confident student, upon making a mistake, is more likely to keep going and eventually get the word right. The less confident student, on the other hand, is more likely to become discouraged by their lack of success and give up.
Both students have learned a lesson: the more confident student has learned that perseverance is rewarded, and the less confident student has probably concluded that reading is really difficult and not worth the effort.
One of the ways that tutoring can help build confidence is by giving children a safe space in which to explore ideas and concepts, and to practice their skills without fear of looking foolish. The more exposure they get, the more they will realize that persistence really does pay off, and their confidence will grow accordingly.
Tutoring Can Build Skills for Life-Long Learning
Tutoring doesn’t just help your child master the particular curriculum they are studying — though at Prep Academy Tutors we do train our tutors to incorporate curriculum goals into their instruction. Tutors also help prepare students for long-term success by teaching them good study habits that will stand them in good stead for years to come by giving them the tools they need to overcome future learning challenges on their own.
For example, one of the most important study tips a child should master during their elementary years is an understanding of the study cycle and the role that repetition and rest play in the learning process.
A lot of bad habits like procrastination and last-minute cramming develop as children start to take a more independent role in their learning around the age of nine or ten. Bringing a tutor on at this point to help students learn how to study smart will pay dividends in the years to come as homework burdens increase and the old strategies of cramming and leaving everything to the last minute start to pay diminishing returns.
If you want to find out how you can get a tutor for your elementary-school-aged child who can around your schedule and offer tutoring services in your home, call us to learn more about Prep Academy Tutors and how we can help your child meet their learning goals.
Starting in Grade 1, your child will be introduced to the essential skills they will need to master in order to work a rewarding job and participate in Canadian society as a responsible citizen. Providing your child with the extra help they need in order to keep up with the curriculum and develop strong literacy and numeracy tools starts early, and tutoring is one of the best ways to ensure that they have the support and confidence they need to succeed.
If you have any questions about how Prep Academy Tutors can help your child this summer or fall, get in touch with us about our tutoring options today.