Children spend most of their time in school, so whether it’s their first year or not in school, you should remain concerned about their safety.
Once they are within the school premises, it’s the school’s responsibility to ensure that they are safe. However, experts say it is still your duty as a parent to equip your child with enough resources to ensure that they remain safe, even when they are out of your sight.
PREPARING YOUR CHILD FOR SCHOOL
Going to school for the first time can bring out different emotions, including anxiety, even in the most outgoing child. If it’s your child’s first year, they will most probably be reluctant to go to school, especially for the first few weeks.
Therefore, it’s your job to ensure that your child is emotionally prepared for the transition. Matsobane Kwetsi, a teacher at Sione Primary School in Limpopo, understands that not all children are open to change but this is possible if parents and teachers work together.
“Children spend most of their time in school and it’s important for the environment to be conducive. We always advise parents to work with us to make the transition less stressful. By just briefing us about their children’s emotional and physical wellbeing, we are able to build on that and make the experience as pleasant as possible,” says the teacher.
Always keep in mind that your child’s teacher is also their guardian. A social worker based in Benoni, Nthabiseng Madikgetla, advises that parents should encourage their children to have a positive attitude towards their educators. She says co-operation and communication between learners and their teachers is vital for their safety and overall well-being.
YOUR CHILD’S SAFETY
Most schools have a security fence and some even security guards ensuring that learners remain safe within the premises. Matsobane admits that as difficult as it is for them to keep an eye on every learner, it’s the school’s responsibility to monitor the learners.
“We take child safety seriously. We have security guards searching learners’ bags to ensure that no weapon slips into the vicinity. We understand that once a learner gets hurt inside or outside the school during school hours, we are held accountable and parents can sue the Department of Education,” he explains.
However, the social worker says parents must not relax. She says parents must take it upon themselves to ensure that their children comply with the school rules. Nthabiseng advises that parents must check their child’s bag and regularly visit the school to keep track of their child’s progress. To keep children safe when going to and coming back from school, she advises parents to find reputable transport for their children or encourage them to walk in groups.
“You also need to teach your children road safety rules and practice the rules by doing role plays at home. The children must know which side of the road to walk on and what to do when they have to cross the road," she says.