Do you ever wake up singing songs from your childhood, and wonder how in the world they got stuck in your head in the first place? Well today, I admittedly woke up singing Mr. Rogers' "Who are the people in your neighborhood." I apologize in advance if it gets stuck in your head!
The world seems to have gotten significantly larger! Children's schools are no longer a stones throw from home, and many parent's travel significant distances for work. Because the world is such a large place, you and your child's neighborhood (the people that you meet when your walking down the street) may look very different!
A huge part of your child's success in school (whether in elementary or high school) is getting to know their ecology. Who are the people in their neighborhood?
It's always a good idea to build a relationship with your child's teacher. Thankfully, most teachers are ok with an occasional e-mail check in to ensure that your child is doing well, and feeling confident and comfortable in class.
Now let's take it a step further, your child spends a large part of their day in the classroom, but let's think of who else can you connect with to get a more well rounded idea of your child's day? Lunchroom staff, and the school security guard are also great people to get to know. They have eyes on your child at the most unstructured and social school time. School crossing guards, your child's bus driver, and any peers/parents that may travel with your child on the way to or from school are also great to connect with (especially for teens and pre-teens who may take a detour to the pizza shop without letting you know.)
Connecting with people in your child's/teen's ecology will help you to monitor your child, and be on top of any issues before they become problematic. (This is especially important for children who proclaim they are always "fine" when your parental intuition says otherwise.)
The old adage "it takes a village" could not be truer in this day and age, with the ease of communication the village is often at your fingertips-taking the time to find out who is in your child's ecology will be the key to continued monitoring, academic and personal success throughout the year.