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Who Needs an Educational Mentor?

For some children, school can be a wonderful place of learning and discovery. But for preschoolers and kindergartners who struggle academically or behaviorally, it can be a place of despair.

If you're tired of getting repeated phone calls from a teacher complaining about your young child's bad behavior or academic troubles, consider hiring an educational mentor. A mentor can provide the extra bit of support, encouragement and guidance your child needs.

Why have an educational mentor?
An educational mentor can guide and assist your child during school hours and scheduled study times. With guidance, assistance and encouragement, he or she can keep your child focused and on task. This can be a wonderful asset in large school facilities where a lack of one-on-one attention and sense of community can frustrate some children.

Where do you find an educational mentor?
Some of the best educational mentors work in the school. An ideal situation would be to identify a teacher, paraprofessional or helper who your child knows and likes. Ask that person if he or she would be willing to devote an hour or two each week to help your son or daughter. If that's not possible, try to find someone with experience as a mentor or youth volunteer.

Can a mentor make a difference?
Yes. The daily or weekly interactions the mentor has with your child allow him or her to target weaknesses and build on strengths. There are three important roles a mentor can play, all of which can effect your child's academic success:

  1. Special Consultant at Individual Education Plan (IEP) Meetings. An educational mentor can give you, the teachers and counselors a comprehensive view of your child's strengths and areas that need to be developed.
  2. Study Buddy
    A mentor knows what your child is capable of doing academically, socially and physically, and will challenge and motivate him or her to make even more progress.
  3. School - Home Liaison
    No one understands the school system better than someone who works at the school and with the system every week. A mentor can bring consistency to your child's study habits and reinforce the expectations that you and the teachers have.

Some mentors offer their services at no charge or for a small fee. Regardless of the payment structure, you should not take their work for granted. An occasional thank you card, dinner invitation or simple homemade gift is a nice acknowledgement and will help maintain a positive relationship between child, parent and mentor.

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