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Dear Parents & Guardians,

As teachers and parents, many times one of the most important lessons we can convey to children is the value of education.  Modeling the value of education is the first step in helping children become successful.  Much of what children see and hear in society (TV, movies, video games) does just the opposite.  They need encouragement to do their best, without applying undue pressure.  Education should be enjoyable, not a stressor.  Children need opportunities to experience intrinsic motivation,  that good feeling you get when you have worked persistently and experienced success in acquiring new skills and knowledge.  Children need opportunities in daily life to practice critical thinking and demonstrate creativity.   Through this process they learn that every day offers an opportunity to learn, education doesn't stop after formal schooling.  Education is part of living.  The following are some suggestions for encouraging your child's interest in learning, at home.  As a teacher, I also work to incorporate these ideas in our day. 

Reading - Model an interest in reading, let your child see you reading for enjoyment.  Ask your child to choose a book that you can read together, or offer a book you enjoyed at his/her age.

Critical Thinking - Ask your child to explain their thoughts when problem solving, rather than just giving a short answer.

Positive Interaction - Perhaps you might schedule a "family game night". Discuss your child's school day with him/her.  Ask questions, encourage detail.  Notice his/her efforts in school while talking about the day.

Model Important Social Behaviors - Send the message that trust, responsibility, honesty, respect, caring for others, and being a good citizen are important values.

Fourth Graders are at an age where they enjoy sharing and are eager to be in conversation with people who care about them.  As I'm sure you know, they are a lot of fun!