"A man never stands as tall as when he kneels to help a child." — The Knights of Pythagoras
Studies prove that when parents are involved at school, children have higher levels of achievement and are more confident, and schools enjoy improved teacher morale. Parents who volunteer show their kids that education is important.
Some parents enjoy working with children in the classroom, while others may enjoy helping with parties, and others prefer planning and organization of programs. Schools need parents with diverse talents and schedules to help in many areas. Here are 5 ways you can get involved with your child’s school:
1. In the Classroom
The stereotypical parent classroom volunteer is the room-parent, that fun mom or dad who shows up with treats and games whenever there is a holiday. While definitely needed, there are also many other opportunities for classroom involvement as well. Asking the teacher about his or her needs, and using your talents, you could help with students tutoring class-work, music programs, art, physical fitness, reading groups, spelling, and mentoring.
Parents who prefer more administrative tasks, or if the teacher has a greater need in the area, can make copies, decorate bulletin boards, etc.
2. Programs & Policy
For parents whose skills thrive in management settings rather than the classroom, consider the school’s parent organization. Depending on the school, it could be a PTA Board, School Community Council, Site Council, Parent Advisory Council or other. These organizations plan and execute many of the programs and activities at the school.
Busy parents may not be able to volunteer on a regular basis, but activities that occur sporadically, such as field trips, parties, plays, etc. offer chances to make a difference one activity at a time, as it fits into your schedule.
Showing support for school activities by attending literacy night, spring concert, science fair, or the school play shows your children that you value what goes on at school.
There are many levels to which parents can get involved in school fundraising efforts – from being on the committee to simply being as generous as income allows when fundraisers come around. Take the time to do things as simple as clipping and sending in ‘box-tops for education’, shopping at stores that give percentages of purchases to schools, and other programs in which your school may be participating.
More and more teachers are offering parents opportunities to help out from home by having them do such things as prepare classroom materials, cut out displays or sew costumes. I’ve wondered how teachers survive some nights when my hands are aching from cutting out dozens of fall leaves or hearts from construction paper! It feels great to know I’ve taken one night of that off the teacher’s hands.
Other ways to help from home include writing or editing for the school newspaper, newsletter, blog, etc.
So take a little thought and time to figure out your talents, your schedule, your situation, then talk to your child(ren)’s teachers about their needs. Somewhere in there is a perfect and unique opportunity for you to enrich your life and the lives of your child and many others by getting involved at school.