Now that it is September most kids are all back to school by now. If you have kids I’m sure you have helped or been asked to help in their classroom. I know there are moms and dads who are very involved in PTA or as a room parent. I also know there are parents who don’t know how they can find the time to get involved in PTA or the classroom. There have been times when I have been very involved volunteering two days a week when I only had one child in school, with more children and more classrooms, and events like holiday class parties, bake sales, Christmas plays, extra-curricular activities it can be difficult to volunteer in all the events. There have also been seasons when I had a newborn at home and was unable to volunteer in the classroom.
No matter what season of life you are in there are ways you can help your children’s teachers. We all know how hard teacher’s work investing in our children. I am so grateful for the long hours they put in making school a fun place to learn. Many teachers spend their own money on supplies, prizes for treasure box and so much more. They appreciate any help we as parents can give.
With four kids from pre-school age to fifth grade, the most important thing is to be available to help in some way with your children’s classroom. Maybe you don’t have a lot of time, maybe you work outside the home, maybe you have little ones at home and don’t have childcare for them, and maybe you just don’t want to help with PTA or be the designated class Room Parent. Don’t focus on what you can’t do rather ask yourself what can you do?
Here are some tips that I hope will encourage you to get involved in your child’s class and I hope will bless the teachers in your life.
1. Be available. When you meet your child’s teacher, introduce yourself and be willing to help with what you can. If that’s time, that’s great. If you don’t have time to volunteer in the class room, maybe you can help in some other way like a field trip chaperone/driver. Many times teachers have class room prizes for good behavior like a class pizza party or ice cream party, even helping to go pick up those pizza’s or bring in the ice cream or toppings can help. Maybe you can come in once a quarter and update the class bulletin board.
2. Help from home. Many times teachers take tasks home with them; they spend their evenings and weekends, preparing for our children. Ask if there is anything you can take off their hands and do from home such as tearing out worksheets, cutting out things, stapling packets, putting together the Scholastic Book Order forms or anything else.
3. Donate Money. At the beginning of school there are lots of supplies we bring in from our school supply list but those supplies dwindle come January. Check in with your child’s teachers and see if they need more tissue, hand sanitizer, paints for crafts or anything else. Teachers can always use gift cards to Michael’s and the Dollar Store where they can purchase things for the classroom.
4. Involve others, don't do it all. Get to know the other parents at morning drop-off or after school pick-up. You can be a HUGE help to your child’s teacher just by getting others involved. Some parents won’t volunteer on their own you can be an advocate for your teacher so he or she does not have to do all the asking. Also get to know the other parents strengths, maybe one parent is great at baking, another at crafts and artistic things, maybe another parent has a lot of community contacts.
5. Show teacher appreciation. It is great to remember National Teachers Appreciation week in May but also throughout the year. If your school does not provide a list of your Teacher’s Favorite things and birthday information, call the school office and see if you can put together a list for your fellow parents. It’s great to know what their favorite candy, coffee, what is their favorite color, so you can show appreciation throughout the school year. Don't forget the lunch lady, janitor, school nurse, librarian and office staff.
6. Box Tops. Many schools use Box Tops for funds for field day, music classes, books for the library, P.E. equipment. This is FREE money for your school, from products you are already purchasing. Get your friends, neighbors and family involved in collecting Box Tops. I have friends who don’t have children save box tops for me, or even who have grown children. This is a great way to help your child’s class and entire school. You can also help with processing Box Tops, making sure they are cut correctly, at times there are ‘Bonus’ sheets that need to be filled out.
I hope these tips help you get involved in your child’s classroom. Parent involvement is important not only for the teacher but I know it also benefits our children. If every parent does something big or small, it helps the entire class and school.
Here are some extra tips to keep in mind if you are involved in helping with school dances, holiday parties or decorating home room/bulletin boards.
1. Contact the school administration and get a calendar for the school year. So you know when dances and holiday's are celebrated. Most schools celebrate Harvest time in the Fall, Christmas in the Winter and Valentine's Day.
2. Touch base with teacher or events coordinator to find out how you can help.
3. Create a class roster. Gather fellow parents contact information, so you can send out e-mails and texts.
4. With parties/dances, make a list of food categories that are needed so when you ask for parent/student help you don't get a lot of desserts only.
5. Plan fun extra's like a photo booth station, give-a-ways (gift cards, school t-shirts, raffle tickets for auction baskets, each class can make a themed basket, etc).
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