Parents and School: Whose role is what?

(Based on my presentation at Dover Heights Synagogue on Shavuot)

Before we can talk about the responsibilities of parents and educators, we need to establish what we all want for our children, what we hope they get out of their education and upbringing.

We can divide our goals in many different manners. I have chosen to divide them into four broad categories, although there is significant cross over.

  1. Academic Goals
    • Literacy – Hebrew and English, to read and experience literature and lifelong learning.
    • Knowledge & skills
    • Interests, talents, and passions

Academic success is going to help our children live a life filled with purpose, earn a livelihood, have interests and develop life satisfaction.

  1. Social Emotional Goals
    • We want our children to grow up as healthy resilient well-balanced humans.
    • We want them to be a mensch in how they interact with others and the world around them.
    • We want them to have friends and be genuinely friendly.
    • To be polite and have manners.
    • And to have love – both to give and receive.
  1. Values Goals
    • We want our children to be people with integrity and respect.
    • Simchat Ha’chaim – having an innate joy in life.
    • Sippuk Ha’chaim – Having life satisfaction.
  1. Jewish Outcomes
    • We want our children to be proud Jews and feel that being Jewish is important to them.
    • We want them to have Jewish knowledge on many different levels.
    • To be involved in Jewish practice and performance of mitzvot and tradition
    • We want them to be connected in the Jewish community and be involved in Jewish civics.
    • We want them to have a Jewish family.

There is obviously, much more, however, this is quite an ambitious shopping list of objectives and can almost be daunting as a parent or educator. I am sure that most parents and educators will agree that they are not willing to compromise or stop striving for such aspirational goals for our children.

Basic Beliefs

Before I commence, I would like to establish some statements and principles that establish the basis for this discussion.

a) Under healthy and normal circumstances, no person is more important or influential in the life of a child (for their whole life) than a parent.

b) When it comes to educating our children (especially younger ones), teachers and parents working together, at all times, maximises the outcomes and benefits for the children.

c) Teachers should seek to listen to parents as they know their children best. Listening to parents enhances trust and builds faith in the partnership with you as a teacher.

d) There are certain things that schools or educators ask or advise parents. Parents need to heed this advice. We always see tremendous growth and progress in a child, academically and socially/emotionally, when this advice is followed.

e) And finally, my observation as Principal, having worked with thousands of children and hundreds of teachers: when there is a close working partnership, almost all of the issues are resolvable, but the flipside is that without a close working partnership, and without trust, even minor issues become insurmountable challenges.

The Development of Australian Schools and the Jewish Day School

To better understand some of the context of schools and parenting, I think it is worthwhile looking at the development of both schools within Australia and the Jewish Day School system.

Australian schools seem to originate from the English Feudal system, whereby Nobility, as opposed to serfs and slaves, the rich and born privileged, were educated often with private tutors. Over time, through evolutions and revolutions, greater equal rights and freedoms for all, the value of education, and its correlation to empowering all citizens in a civilisation to have a better life, were established for all.

If you look at the development of Jewish school systems, there is a very early Midrashic source. When our forefather Yaacov (Jacob) dressed up as his brother Eisav by putting sheepskins on his arms while his mother prepared a meat dish for his father, and he ‘stole’ Eisav’s blessings, he had to flee. This Midrash says, whilst fleeing, he took a detour and studied in the Yeshivah-Academy of Shem and Ever for 14 years. He studied the wisdom and intellect of Hashem.

A generation or two later, during an extreme famine, when Joseph was already the Vice Viceroy of Egypt, the entire Jewish family-nation of 70 souls needed to come down to Egypt for sustenance and safety. Yaacov sent his eldest son Yehuda (Judah) before them – ‘L’horot l’fanav Goshra’ – ‘To prepare the land of Goshen (for Jewish settlement in Egypt).’ The great Biblical commentator Rashi explains the preparatory work he undertook was to establish an education system.

Yaacov knew that they were coming down as a large family, but they were at the cusp of a population explosion and expanding into a nation. He knew that living in Egypt would be an extreme challenge to Jewish continuity, and in fact they would not be successful without an education system.

Unfortunately, within a generation, the Egyptian slavery commenced, and most of the educational endeavour was discontinued for the majority of the Jewish nation, other than for the Tribe of Levi (Moshe’s Tribe), who were never enslaved, and became the teachers and scholars, the progenitors of and preservers of Jewish knowledge and learning.

The real start of Jewish wholescale education actually commenced with the giving of the Torah, shortly after they left Egypt, on Shavuot 3333 years ago. Moshe went up to study Torah directly from Hashem for 40 days and nights in Hashem’s Academy. He came down and taught Aharon and his sons, the 70 elders, and eventually established a leadership system of mentors and teachers designated to look after: ten thousand, one thousand, one hundred and ten people. These teachers, mentors and guides functioned as the societal leaders of the Jewish people for more than 1000 years.

The problem was it was a very patrilineal system, predominantly fathers or grandfathers taught their sons or grandsons. The issue was that not everyone had a father and not every father was knowledgeable or had the time or ability to teach their sons.

There seems to be an obscure personality identified in the Talmud. His name was Yehoshua Ben Gamla, who was accredited with establishing the Jewish Day School system. The Talmud says that ‘had it not been for Yehoshua Ben Gamla, the Torah would have been forgotten from the Jewish People’.

Initially not everyone was capable of teaching their children Torah, so they instituted the ordinance and training of teachers in Jerusalem. After that they saw that it was necessary to establish teachers within each region of Israel, so in the larger city of each region, they trained teachers to have an intake of children from that region. When children finished home schooling, at the age of about 16 or 17, they were sent to the regional academies. They found that undisciplined teenagers couldn’t succeed in a system of teaching with policies and discipline, often the 16- or 17-year-olds would rebel and leave the system.

Yehoshua Ben Gamla came along and instituted that teachers should be established in each and every single town, city and province and that children should commence formal study from the age of six or seven.

Yehoshua Ben Gamla actually served as the high priest in the Second Temple era and another Talmudic source says he married Marta bat (daughter of) Baitos, and she was the heir of one of the four wealthiest families in Israel at the time. So not only was Yehoshua Ben Gamla founder of Jewish Day Schools, but he was also one of its earliest and greatest philanthropists.

Parents’ responsibility to educate the children

Judaism sees it an absolute responsibility for parents to ensure that they teach their children to learn Torah to learn how to live as a Jew, to teach them a trade to earn a livelihood, and the Talmud adds teaching them to swim, especially in coastal regions (for safety). If people aren’t knowledgeable enough, or they are too busy, they are required to hire others to teach them, or put their children into a school environment where they can learn these things.

Yehoshua Ben Gamla established free Jewish schools for all children across the entire country, and he taxed every community in every city to ensure that they at least had a schoolhouse, if not an entire school system. Teacher training was rigorous. They selected people with a specific nature and character and had very high expectations of them, their resiliency habits, healthy habits, i.e.: getting a good night’s sleep. In fact, there is even a discussion whether teachers of children are allowed to fast on Jewish fast days because it could compromise their patience and engagement with the children.

Post media age – the Modern Orthodox Jewish Day School

If we fast forward to today, schooling in the post-industrial, post-technological revolution, post-information revolution era, in which we live, in fact we live in what I would deem the post media age revolution, together with the age old 2000+ year established Jewish Day School system, you end up with the modern synthesis of the Jewish Day School of today that we dub – a Modern Orthodox Jewish Day School.

Modern parenting challenges

Parents are experiencing the most challenging of times. The first challenge is that many parents both work very hard to survive, and our culture expects parents to be engaged and connected all the time. In a sense, although technology was purported to make our lives easier, it has actually made us work harder and longer hours.

In addition, parenting confidence, in my observation, is sometimes relatively low, particularly when faced with the novel challenges of a tech and media savvy world, of which many parents have little or no experience or frame of reference. It’s a hugely different culture from when the average parent grew up. To have a 100 X powered supercomputer in our children’s pockets compared to the computer that we used at school when we grew up, is a significant challenge.

Another issue we find today is that some of the hyper-democratic values of society have crept into our families. Many families mistakenly run like Democracies, they feel and think that all family members have equal rights. In Judaism, a family is not a Democracy, a healthy family should be a benevolent Dictatorship, with the healthy exertion of parental authority, discipline, love, and limits.

Expectations of schools today

Schools today face greater expectation to be everything to everyone and keep up with all educational trends, even if they move faster than the speed of reason. Open classrooms, technology, innovation, STEM, STEAM, personalised learning, back to basics and a range of co-curricular offerings that would even make the busiest of high performing executives dizzy, and all this couched in a Jewish environment with timeless values and learning.

We live in a relatively small country that does provide a small amount of government funding to almost all schools inclusive of private schools, therefore the government mandates a level of ‘transparency’ about the performance of the schools and education. They measure that which is easy to measure, and that causes the community to judge schools unfairly, instead of looking at what we empower each child to accomplish.

In addition, the parenting dial has shifted towards the school. There is much more expectation on the school in terms of personal development, social-emotional learning, self-esteem, self-worth, mental and emotional health, as well as academics, co-curricular and learning for life. This is largely due to the decay of family life in much of society. Yet at the same time, parents don’t fully want to give the school the ability, the authority or that level of influence on their children. Therefore, there is continuously a tug of war between what parents need, want, and expect of schools.

Technology in schools is a huge opportunity, as well as a challenge, as well as ‘affluenza’ – the relative depravity that so many children feel compared to the apparent affluence and their perceptions of their peers. Teachers’ remuneration due to inflation and the flipside – educational affordability and quality, a never-ending balancing game.

The biggest challenge/opportunity in schools

Many educators feel that the biggest challenge to education is often parents. Many educators also believe that the biggest asset to education are parents. It all depends on the relationship.

As both a parent and a school principal, I am going to play both sides. Let’s analyse what parents expect, want or demand of schools. They expect a lot.

  1. They want schools to help children develop close friendships.
  2. They want schools to provide children with emotional safety at all times and enable them to develop resilience.
  3. They want them to empower their children to value and have pride in their Judaism.
  4. They want them to give them homework, to help them succeed.
  5. They want them to look after their welfare and ensure they behave appropriately.

Now what do schools and educators want of parents.

  1. They want them to look after their welfare and ensure they behave appropriately.
  2. They want them to give them homework, to help them succeed.
  3. They want them to empower their children to value and have pride in their Judaism.
  4. They want parents to provide children with emotional safety at all times and enable them to develop resilience.
  5. They want parents to help children develop close friendships.

In other words, parents and schools expect the same of each other.

The roles of schools and parents in academic performance

Let’s say a child performs poorly on a test or on a report. How do we as parents respond?

So often, I see parents saying: ‘Well in the past, she/he did really well because he/she had a great teacher.’ Or ‘In his previous school, he got straight A’s’, etc.

There is a misconception that when a child performs well, his teachers must be ‘great’. Teachers whose students get great grades on in-school assessments all the time, are not necessarily providing them with a ‘great education’. They may be taking the easy route, a route that avoids conflict, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they have enabled your child to achieve academic mastery.

The role of a teacher is to build each child, slowly but surely. To do so they expand that child’s capacity to reflect upon and take feedback, and to use that feedback for further growth. Teachers who mark down and give feedback on how to improve, have given your child one of the most precious gifts in life.

The role of a parent is to cherish the feedback their child receives and encourage their child to do so. Parents can build their child’s capacity to take feedback for growth throughout their lives.

Too many times in our workplaces, and I can see it in the educational market as well, people struggle with strong clear feedback and reflection for growth. Academic progress and performance are directly influenced by how parents support their children to take feedback, and the best educators give clear, future-focussed feedback.

Building the trust and partnership between parents and educators

It may not be news to parents, but at times all children complain about their teachers. It is the job of teachers to sometimes pull children into line, or to discipline them. Sometimes children may say, ‘But she picks on me’, or ‘It’s unfair’ or ‘He dislikes me’. In fact, often teenagers can even say that to, or about, their parents, ‘You hate me!’.

It may be news to teachers that all healthy normal parents passionately care about their children, often too passionately. It’s all about their child. So, I always say to educators, ‘don’t take it personally.’

Now, how to build that parent-educator, educator-parent trust. A simple technique is the phone call rule. It doesn’t matter if it is initiated by the teacher or the parent, but early in the piece pick up the phone and have a chat, well before there are any issues. Just say ‘Hi, I’m here. This is my child.’ or ‘Hi, I’m here. I’m your child’s teacher.’ Have virtual meet and greet.  Yes, there has been handover. Yes, there has been transmission of knowledge, marks and learning style, but it is never the same as a parent-educator relationship. Some teachers may teach 20, some 60, some 120, and some even 180 students or more. Obviously, there are handovers and transmission of information, but it is impossible to humanly remember all the details, so please do not make assumptions.

Appreciation grows trust and dedication

I often find that teacher appreciation and its impact is underestimated. Not bribery, not a major gift, just a thoughtfully written card and sentiment showing them specific appreciation; letting them know that what they do does not go unnoticed. It’s extraordinary to see how motivating appreciation is for teachers and how much more impetus it creates for them to work even harder for your children. Vice versa. I always say to the teachers, ‘Listen, just listen’. No thinking, no interrupting, no judgment, no defence.  Just listen when a parent talks. Then, take the time to thoughtfully respond. Often the parents will just be appreciative that you listened.

Realistic expectations of teachers

You can expect that the teacher knows your child. Obviously in Primary School it is easier and it becomes more challenging as they progress through High School, with more specialists.

Many teachers have developed a special, ‘get to know you’ process. I remember when I taught many classes a week, at the start of the year I used ‘get to know you’ sheets where the children would tell me all about their siblings, their pets, their holidays, their co-curricular involvements, their passions, their fears, their ambitions, and their dreams. Please remember to always respect teachers. They are specialists in their field who are there for your children, who try not to take things personally, who will always endeavour to listen and help problem-solve with their wisdom and training.

Realistic expectations of parents

As a parent it is important to know all your children’s teachers. Yes, all of them, their names, and preferably find out a little bit about them, what they like and dislike and their characters. After all, they influence your child. You should know something about them. Work with your children’s teachers respectfully. There’s a famous American children’s picture book. It’s called ‘Mummy has Feelings Too’. Often, I feel like saying the obvious, that ‘teachers have feelings too’ – deal with them with warmth and appreciation and image how hard they will work with your child.

Another basic expectation of parents is to read everything that the school sends out. Take the 10-15 minutes a week – eLY, newsletter, emails etc. Make a point to go to the parent meetings, the talks and events. It gives your kids the message that you care about their schooling, and you are involved in their education. It also simply helps you stay on top of things.

The homework hard work debate

The Mishna says ‘L’fum Tza’ora Agra – in line with the pain and effort, is the reward’. There is nothing worthwhile that comes without hard work.

Yes, buying a lottery ticket tries to create the imaginary luck of the draw mindset, but it’s an illusionary/delusionary way of thinking. The other week, as we listened to Moriah graduate, Afterpay Founder, Nick Molnar talking about the brilliant rise of his business to the $30+billion company that it is today, he made it clear there were no short cuts. Yes, there is a lot of mazal and emunah – good fortune and faith, blood, sweat and tears, prayers, being a mensch, and persistence. His message was, with all that it is possible, but there are no short cuts. Parents, when it comes to hard work and homework, do not allow your children to make excuses, or worse yet, make excuses for your child. Creating an environment in which they have a routine and an environment in which they can work at home, is a critical factor in their success.

Teachers, you can expect a lot from children (and some parental support too), but remember home is home. Most parents aren’t tutors or teachers, and nor should they be. Personally, I found that even as an educator, I was able to do homework with two of my children and two were desperate not to work with me, and in fact, it was a very bad idea.

It is much more important to put our parenting relationship first. As parents, it’s best to be homework coach, not a homework consultant. Not a consultant who does the work for them and interferes in learning, but rather like a sports coach who keeps their morale up even when they feel like quitting, and who guides and sets the tone and pace for their practice. Their coach who believes in them and helps them get through their homework and study.

Why is there homework at all?

Teachers do set and create a culture of homework for multiple reasons.

  1. It establishes a powerful universal and Jewish value of lifelong learning.
  2. Flipped learning, meaning where children see and hear presentations outside of school and come back to school to work and think and be guided and coached by the educators is highly effective.
  3. Homework is an expansion of the classroom and class time.
  4. It teaches self-discipline and independence (although there is an authentication of work challenge). Being part of a family, with chores and responsibilities, & spending time together can be balanced with homework and study even as children get older (even in HSC). That balance is critical to success at home, school and life.

Remember balance, schoolwork and family life.

Literacy vs screen time

Teachers and parents need to know that tech is not evil, nor is it the ultimate engagement tool or babysitter. It is never healthy to overdo screen time. Screens are like a pencil, paper, or calculators. There is a time and place for the use of the tool we call technology.

Teachers and parents need to keep up to date with their children’s world. The only way to do so, with speed and evolution of tech and media, is to wonder and learn alongside our children. To share and rejoice and be part of their world (even if we aren’t naturally interested in Tik Tok or pop culture). Parents need to know that all screen viewing needs a level of oversight and parenting. There are serious addictions that are abundant and all around our children:

  • Porn
  • Gaming
  • Socialising/social media
  • Media

Parents need to know that tech at home is a parenting responsibility. It is never just a child’s responsibility.

In order to learn the value of self-control, children need some level of policing and imposed limits. I have interviewed well over 100 children for scholarship and valedictory awards. I have found a direct inverse correlation between the volume of screen time children spend in a week and their academic ability and worldliness. Without fail, all successful scholarship and valedictory students have controlled or limits on their screen time. They read more (print media), they read deeply, and they read a number of different genres. Often these children engage with fiction and non-fiction and passionately talk about their engagement with knowledge in the literary world. Limited screen time = brighter, more knowledgeable, and more successful children.

When parents ask, ‘When is a good time to give my child a phone?’, I answer, ‘When you are ready to police and enforce a system with the discipline and limits. That’s when you are ready to give them a phone and expect them to maintain a healthy relationship with the supercomputer you just handed them’.

Judaism and Jewish values – from home

Jewish values come from home. They can be enhanced and supplemented, supported or eroded, at school. But Judaism and our Jewish values come from home.

I tell the story, although I am unsure if it ever happened, of the preschool Shabbat party. The little preschool child who was selected to be Abba Shel Shabbat – was all set to make kiddush at the Shabbat party. As he picked up the little cup of grape juice, he started to moan and groan ‘Oh boy, have I had a hard week!’. And the teacher says, ‘C’mon get on with the Kiddush’. And the child continues, ‘I am so tired! I think I am going to fall asleep in my soup! Oy Vey – what a hard week!’. Obviously, our modelling as a parent with the greatest influence on our children, teaches them more than any class at school.

The school can only do so much Jewishly. It is the school’s responsibility to create a fun, vibrant, engaging Jewish experiential and formal learning environment to engage children to love and learn about their Judaism. At times Jewish learning is deep or even challenging. It can enrich and enhance all aspects of our lives. But children need to feel the value of the opportunity from home.

When parents ensure their children value Jewish learning and Judaism, their school experience is that much more impactful and successful.

Judaism cannot be punished into a child. Judaism is not unilateral. We teach children that we embrace questions in Judaism, in fact we welcome quests for knowledge and deeper understanding, and a range of views, all within an environment of respect. Starting with Jewish Pride and Self-respect. Rabbi Sacks OBM said that ‘Non-Jews respect Jews who respect themselves.’

Teaching children values and integrity

The single most powerful way to inculcate values in our children is to model as parents. Unspoken behaviour is all powerful. Parents who model respect for teachers, no matter what, generally have respectful children. Parents who model respect when they fight or disagree, if they model problem solving and resolution after a disagreement, teach their children to problem solve and resolve differences. The unspoken conduct of behaviour of parents, models values more than anything that will ever be taught or modelled at school.

When parents respect rules, even if they disagree or don’t understand them, know when to show ‘tough love’, and not deliver ‘misplaced chesed’, or having an allergy to setting limits or to saying ‘no’, children grow up with a healthier sense of self, with self-regulatory behaviours.

Obviously, the famous 4:1 positive to negative parenting ratio is an important element for children, especially as they become teens when we have to pick our battles.

Giving our children regular responsibilities/chores at home teaches them the value of doing things as a family unit and thinking beyond themselves. It is irrelevant whether there is a cleaner or somebody else to do the job for them, the child with the responsibility, whether it is to take the dog for a walk, set or clear the table, load the dishwasher, sweep the floor, set the candles for Shabbat, or anything else, thinks about the needs of others and the household beyond themselves. They are learning invaluable values.

Children who experience healthy parenting limits, will often push and challenge those limits, that’s what all healthy teens do, but the limits and rules make them feel safe and loved. So many of the children that come to therapists talk about how their parents don’t provide them with healthy boundaries or guidelines or are too scared to say ‘no’.

Finally, how do we teach our children about integrity, and telling the truth, even when it hurts?

All healthy children do bend the truth a little bit when they report episodes, facts, interactions and things that have occurred. They report in a specific manner to portray themselves to others (especially to parents and friends), in a specific light, and often to get a particular reaction. It is very important not to react but to listen and to drill down to the truth. It’s very important to remember that often when something occurs amongst friends or with a teacher at school, that we weren’t there.

Teachers are selected carefully for their moral character, their integrity, and the modelling that they provide to our children, and in partnership with parents, we can truly reinforce the powerful set of values you model for your children.

Providing routine – teaching ‘Seder-organisation skills’

There is tremendous power and benefit of organisation, routine, and order in our children’s lives. School is by nature very orderly. There are bells and specific times, periods for lessons and a schedule of when things occur. The natural cycle of the day, week, month, term, year, is clear in schools. The entire system works through the ebb and flow of time.

Parents who create a healthy morning, afternoon and evening routine, give their children a gift. Getting their kids up a little bit earlier or helping them learn to wake themselves up is a gift. Establishing a weekly routine with Shabbat, pushing the pause button, and with the seasonal routine of Chaggim or school holidays, helps them function in a systemic and orderly fashion. They feel greater control, confidence and develop self-discipline. This helps with all relationships and engagements in life.

Obviously, there are things that disrupt our lives, we aren’t robots, and there are times when it is more difficult than others, but by and large, by creating an organised routine in our children’s lives, we help them feel safe, confident and to succeed.

Being a parent advocate not a helicopter

As parents, it is often our instinct to swoop in and protect when we hear some disappointment, challenge, or negative interaction that our child is involved in. It is our instinct to protect them.

Ask our child when to get involved. Often it’s more beneficial not to problem-solve for them, but problem-solve with them. Ask them questions like ‘How do you think we can deal with that?’ or ‘What would be another way of finding a solution?’, or ‘What else can we do?’.

By problem-solving together, we model self-reliance and provide our children with a lifelong gift. They develop a sense of self-confidence and believe they can solve many problems they may face throughout their lives. If you swoop in and solve the issue, you may have protected them from a short-term set-back, but you have robbed them of what is truly important and valuable in life.

Please ensure to advocate for your children. If you feel that the school or an educator doesn’t know or understand the depth of your child’s needs, speak up with respect. You are your child’s advocate, but please don’t err on the side of becoming an interferer or showing a lack of respect or co-operation.

We regularly and successfully work with parents who advocate for their children. Unfortunately, we also come across parents who interfere with every mark, every decision of every disciplinary measure. It is destructive and it doesn’t benefit anyone. It robs our children, creates resentful educators and heightened parental emotions.

We often find that those parents who train their children that they will swoop in and fix or protect and fight for them, every step of the way, whether they deserve it or not, create dependent children who actually don’t push themselves or develop a sense of autonomy and responsibility. Whereas children of parents who advocate in a healthy manner for them, and encourage them to solve things on their own, who display trust, and allow the educators to give them the feedback that they need to, often continue to improve, to take greater responsibility and show greater academic performance over time.

When things go wrong – solving problems at school

When a problem arises at school, don’t email. Or if you do email, email asking for a phone call or meeting. Document attempts to resolve things. Always start with the teacher or the child’s mentor, or whoever is directly involved in their day-to-day education and wellbeing. It reflects positively on you when you work with the mechanism that is thoughtfully designed in the school to deal with and respond to issues. It reflects poorly when you jump up the ranks and you don’t work with those on the ground.

Don’t engage in negative talk, ever. There is no benefit. Whenever you talk to your child about challenges at school, reinforce that there are all kinds of people in life. Talk about the joy of learning and ensure that it is reinforced at home and hopefully it will continue to be cultivated at school. Always focus on appreciation and on the positive. There are so many positive aspects to the relationship of that class and teacher, even if your child had a bad day or bad occurrence. Be sincere, do not say one thing and mean another.

The gift & privilege of parenting and educating

Parenting and educating are not a job; it is a gift, a calling, vocation, and a lifelong mission. It is Divine Providence that you were blessed with your children, and that we were blessed with the privilege of partnering with you to educate them.

Parenting and education are hard work. They are values-driven. They involve the greatest stakes with the greatest rewards. They contain a lot of emotion, energy, time, and investment, yet the greatest nachas, joy and satisfaction.

As educators, we spend an enormous volume of time thinking about, and working with your children; as parents the general guidelines are to spend at least 30 mins a day, thinking about your child’s wellbeing and development. Parents and school together, can enable all our children to thrive and succeed.

With blessings for success, nachas and a safe and enjoyable holiday.

About the Author

Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler is the College Principal at Moriah College in Queens Park, NSW.

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