Children who stay away from school without the permission of their parents or teachers are truant. They may stay away from school because their parents don’t care whether they go or not, their schoolwork is too hard or too easy for them, or peer pressure. Truancy can start as early as Grade 2, and may evolve into a habit, unless children are stopped immediately.
- Provide a classroom environment which encourages student involvement, and makes them feel their attendance is important. Some suggestions are letting children choose topics they’d like to learn about; and organizing cooperative group activities where children depend on each other’s participation.
- Individualize instruction for students finding schoolwork either too hard or not hard enough.
- Ask the child why he stays away from school. You may find he is afraid of someone or something.
- Set up buddy systems where an older child or peer models appropriate behavior, spends free time with the child, and encourages him to attend school.
- Give the truant child responsible jobs at school, where other people are counting on him being there–handing out sports equipment at lunch or selling tickets at recess, for example.
- Organize a classroom party with children’s daily attendance determining how many minutes they can spend at the party–as opposed to doing schoolwork.
- Ask your school principal to call the child’s parents and express concern about their child’s absenteeism. This may carry more weight than a note or call home from you. Equally as effective is your principal calling parents to comment on their child’s improved attendance.
- Expelling a student for truancy. Besides giving him what he wants, it doesn’t address the reason why he is staying away from school in the first place.