- Participate in Parent Organizations. Participation in a parent organization is another way in which you can support your child's school. The PTA or PTO at the school needs members to brainstorm and carry out ideas for improving the school. Working together, a united group of parents can make small miracles happen. A weedy flower bed can be turned into a nursery-like presentation of color. The librarian-less library (which are more and more common these days) can be bustling with student activity again. Aging playground structures can be painted or replaced. Parent organizations host picnics and parties, raise funds, and generally support the school and its staff in an effort to give the children the best environment possible for learning, as well as bring families together to promote a community feeling. Attending meetings keeps you in touch with the needs of school and lets you know what you can do to help out.
- Communicate with the Principal.
Just as parents need to get to know their child's teacher, they also need to establish a relationship with the principal. Take advantage of school functions such as picnics and carnivals to touch base with the principal. Write her a note when you see some positive changes being made in the school environment. Principals usually attend the PTA and PTO meetings, so try to attend those meetings as much as possible to hear what the principal has to say about the direction of the school and future plans for improvement. Offering support to the principal is just another way that you can be an asset to your child's school.
- Volunteer Some Time from Your Home.
As a teacher myself, I am limited as to what I can provide in the way of help for my child's teacher and school. One method that I have found works for me is to offer to do things at home. I make phone calls, assemble projects, cut things out, and a variety of other prep work that can be done in an hour or less. Parents of my students have done some cutting out of laminated items, collating, and book assembly at home, which helps me and also gives them the opportunity to help out. Ask your child's teacher what tasks you might be able to do at home if you aren't able to be in the classroom helping. It really does make a difference.
During the school year, there are field trips to chaperone, ice cream socials to scoop for, and boxes of candy to sell. By participating in any of these activities, you are demonstrating your commitment to your child's school and to her education. There are so many different things you can do to make a difference at your child's school. The teachers and the children count on parents to do what they can to make the school a wonderful place to learn. As you watch your child walk through that classroom door on the first day of school, know that school isn't just for kids.
It's a community of parents, children and school staff who can make things happen.