Planning for your student’s future
Village Child Consulting Services
LANCASTER, Calif.—Summer is approaching and schools are about ready to release their prisoners . . . er students. Whatever you call kids running around in those educational facilities, they are about to be let loose.
Maybe it is not as bad as it sounds, but summer time is the best of worst times for students. It is that bit of freedom every child looks forward to, being without homework, teachers, classrooms, and early-morning wake-up calls.
But despite the kid-felt heavenly bliss, all is not rosy because students lose two to three months of learning over the summer months. Consequently, when they return to the classroom in August or September, students may spend a significant amount of time catching up. But it does not have to be that way.
Laneay London, CEO of The Village Child Consulting Services, says summer is a good season to get students of all ages ready for the future, including college.
“Parents need to have the talk with their children,” London said. “The talk” should be about the child’s future, including college, vocational school, marriage, relationships, and children. “I recommend a project over the summer, so the child can visualize themselves in different aspects. And parents need to not be critical of whatever the child picks.”
Village Child was established in 2005 to address the educational needs of students in the Antelope Valley. It began as a senior project while London was pursuing her bachelor’s degree. She began to notice, that as her own children began going through the school system, students were meeting state requirements but were not prepared for the next level.
Her mission now is to encourage parental involvement in children’s education, as well as promoting educational planning with students. She believes educational achievement is a communal effort; parents, counselors, and students are responsible.
“My new venture is to bring the community into education. You look at any statistics with parent involvement, and it’s one of the missing components that the school system has not fully embraced outside of the PTA,” she said, adding that it requires a communal effort to ensure students have access to all the necessary resources.
London recommends parents get started by helping their child create a plan.
Adults typically are trained to create a five- and ten-year plan for their careers. London believes parents should begin helping their children with those five-year plans, while they are still in school. Special-needs students should especially have a plan, according to London.
For junior and senior high school students, this is especially a perfect time to determine what their future is looking like. College applications, scholarship applications, career choices, and other future events are knocking on the doors of exiting students.
“A challenge juniors and seniors face is an identification of skill sets,” London commented, adding that the time and resources counselors, parents, and children themselves invest into student education and advancement determines how they will achieve.
Basically, students who do not have a plan or the combined motivating forces of parent, counselor, and self, will struggle to make it through to the next level in academics and possibly career.
Another challenge students have faced for years now is the lack of counselor involvement. Many students who are first-generation college kids do not have the proper guidance to get them to and through university education. London says parent involvement is key to ensuring their child is getting the attention he or she needs.
“Parents need to go up to the child’s school, sit with the counselor and identify what their child wants to do. My recommendation is, if you have not discussed with them the goals and needs, that conversation needs to happen.”
So, over the summer, London suggests parents create projects for students of all ages. A dream or life poster is a timeline, collage, or simply a reminder for children about the future they want to have, whether that is college, career, family, or vacations. Also, studying and researching major tests like the SAT and ACT are recommended for high school students, along with college campus visits.
To keep students caught up and ready for the next school year, London says constructing a summer curriculum for younger students is ideal.
Village Child typically works with low-income African-American students, but all students and parents are certainly welcome. Depending on student and parent preferences, counseling and consultations may occur as frequently or infrequently as needed. London helps parents and children plan for the future, understand the education system, and access resources for education. More information is available at www.thevillagechild.com.