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Preparing Your Young Performer For Educational Success

August 17, 2016

Preparing Your Young Performer For Educational Success 

When it comes to school on set, it may feel like you are the only one with a desire to make your child’s education a priority.  With so many other things to consider from producers who want to meet budgets to directors who are trying to get the perfect shot, you may find yourself pushing educational goals to the back burner so as not to disappoint the production as a whole.  We’re here to tell you that there are many people involved in the production who do value your child’s education, and furthermore, legally education simply cannot be neglected. You have every right to speak up and, when done correctly and to the appropriate people, your child’s career will not be negatively affected by your desire for him or her to succeed in school. To make things a bit easier, we’ve provided some suggestions and tips for creating an environment conducive to learning.


Understand Your Go-To Personnel

We’ve heard this statement before: “I want my child’s school to be a priority but I’m afraid if I speak up I’ll become that difficult parent who isn’t doing her part to support the production process.”  Rest assured that this is a totally normal fear. This is why, in the state of California, you have advocates on the set to assist you. When you have questions about your child’s education, turn to the Studio Teacher on set.

Studio Teachers are hired to help keep your kids on track.  Parents should not be afraid to speak up about their child’s academic needs whether on short term or long term assignments.”  Toni Casala, Children In Film

Outside of CA, you might have to advocate for your child directly with production.  Don’t hesitate to speak to the A.D. (assistant director) about scheduling time for education on set as needed.

Also, discuss your plan for accomplishing the required three hours of education during the work day. Will school time occur all at once, or in twenty minute intervals throughout the day? There are boundaries that limit the hours that children are allowed to sit for school depending on their grade level. Make sure you know them to avoid surprises.

Communicate with Your School

Have a discussion with your child’s regular school and his/her teachers ahead of time. Inform teachers that your child may miss school for work but that education is a number one priority in your home and that you will work with him/her to make sure your child gets his assignments ahead of time and stays ahead of his studies.


Arrive Prepared

Arrive on set prepared.  Parents, it is your responsibility to come prepared with books and assignments from your child’s regular school or home school program. If for some reason, your child is already caught up on school work or got the call for work at the end of the day after school was closed, come to set prepared with grade appropriate supplementary work including flash cards, a book to read, or puzzles to complete.  As a parent, a go-to kit of school-related activities is a great thing to have on hand.


Recap the Day

Before leaving set, speak briefly with the studio teacher about what was accomplished and if he/she has any notes for you regarding your child’s progress.
Many teachers will automatically provide a report card, but sometimes you need to ask.  Then, on the ride home or later that evening, discuss the day with your child. If you need to, update your child’s regular school with any important details regarding his/her progress.

Consider the Future

As your child progresses in his/her entertainment career, it is likely that he or she will miss a large amount of regular school for work . It is a good idea to be aware of any pupil attendance laws in your state (click here for California) which may limit the amount of days your child can miss before he/she is asked to leave the school in favor of an independent study or home school program. Because of this, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with homeschooling and virtual school options available to you should the day arise that regular school is no longer the most viable option for your child.