Children who stay away from school without the permission of their parents or teachers are truant. They may not go to school for several reasons: their parents don’t care whether they go or not, their schoolwork is too hard or too easy for them, peer pressure. Truancy can start as early as grade two, and may turn in to a habit, unless children are stopped right away.
o Make your classroom appealing so your students can’t wait to come in. Let them know their attendance is important to you as well as the rest of the children. Try organizing cooperative group activities where children depend on each other’s participation, and let children take the reins for a while by choosing topics they’d like to learn about.
o Individualize instruction for students finding schoolwork either too hard or not hard enough.
o Ask children why they stay away from school. You may find they are afraid of someone or something.
o Set up a buddy system where an older child or peer model appropriate behavior, spend free time with truant children, and encourage them to attend school.
o Give truant children responsible jobs at school, where other people are counting on them being there–handing out sports equipment at lunch and selling tickets at recess are two examples.
o Organize a classroom party with children’s daily attendance determining how many minutes they can spend at the party–as opposed to doing schoolwork.
o Ask your school principal to call truant children’s parents and express concern about their children’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.