Summer is winding down and parents and children alike are gearing up for the school year ahead. Whether a child is entering kindergarten or their senior year of high school, there are plenty of reasons why parents should try and get involved in their child’s school. Some parents enjoy taking part in classroom activities, while others prefer to plan events. Volunteering time or resources shows your kids that you take an interest in their education and that you believe school is a worthwhile cause. But volunteering can seem like a difficult task when you are working and add in all the other time commitments you already have in life. However, there are plenty of ways you can show your support with limited time and resources available.
Attend back-to-school events. Many schools host orientation events for parents and students to get to know the teachers and other school personnel. These activities are especially important for those students who are just starting school or attending a new one. Being present at back-to-school events can help ease any stress or concerns your student has.
Be present at school events that your child participates in. This one is a no-brainer. Showing up to important school events like sports matches, concerts, and exhibitions provides an easy way to show your support for your child and the particular group/event. And if you simply cannot make it, send a close friend or family member in your place instead.
Participate in ‘parent advisory councils’ or the parent-teacher organization (PTO). Many meetings take place during the evening hours and other times that are more convenient for working parents. If you simply cannot attend the meetings, ask that the minutes be sent to you. These meetings help influence school policies and major decisions which can greatly affect your child, so being a part of the decision-making process is very important.
Take a day off to chaperone a field trip or other educational trip. Without parent chaperones, many of these trips are not possible. They can be a fun way to get to know your child and his/her friends on a more intimate level. This can also be a good time to become familiar with your child’s teacher as well.
Volunteer outside the school building. Many school-related activities require a phone call to other parents to inform them of new activities, policies, and other changes. You could also make food needed for an event. Some schools may also have need for a translator, so you could help translate a school newsletter from English to another language.
Help your child from home. Even if you aren’t able to volunteer at the school or school-related activities, you can still help your child while you’re at home, reinforcing and extending what the school is doing. This kind of aid helps students to keep a positive mindset surrounding school and education.
Students can benefit greatly from parental involvement in their education. Research shows it can help with grades, attendance, better self-esteem, a positive outlook on school, less destructive behavior, and more successes in life. Parent involvement is so much more than just helping out in class, and some types of involvement provide more benefits than others. But the important part is that you are able to keep tabs on your student’s learning and provide necessary support for his/her education in whichever way suits you and your family best.