How are parents involved at your school? — The Bump

How are parents involved at your school?

Prior to this year, my kids attended a co-op preschool where parent involvement was very high. Each parent was required to work in the classroom once a week, hold a class job, attend monthly meetings and parent education classes. This year we switched programs and our new school is very different. We love the school, teachers and program, but it is really lacking in community and parent involvement. Today, the director had a parent coffee and a ton of parents showed up and we all said the same thing, we want more community and ways to contribute to the school. With that being said, I'm not really sure where to start. I've asked the teacher if I could help in anyway and she always just says "Oh yeah, come in anytime and work in the class," but never has an tangible projects. So I am wondering how other preschools build community and what type of things parents do to help out. Can anyone share some ideas from your school?
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Re: How are parents involved at your school?

  • My son has been in 2 different preschools and neither had programs like you describe at your previous school. Very little parent involvement. I would say talk to the director and see what would be helpful. I'm sure she could give you more specific ideas than the teacher. Most schools I think would be grateful for volunteers.
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  • When my kids were at the daycare based preschool, parents were not involved in the day to day, just for special events. In the PreK program which is based at the elementary school, parents are asked to volunteer at class parties and help on field trips.  Parents are also asked to come in and share on topics that they have background on that the class is focusing.  This year, they did a lot on different cultures so my ILs went in and talked about Hanukkah and a few other parents/grandparents went in and talked about their cultures/religions.  Parents are always invited to come and sit with the class at lunchtime which I did once last year with my older DD - I helped the teachers serve the class and than sat with my DD.  Parents can always come in and ready and help with the normal day to day in regard to art projects or special activites. 

    In my older DD's kindy class, they have a "Book Nook" once a week and parents or grandparents each sign up for a week and go read for 25 mins to the class.  It is so much fun.  Parents also help at the parties and on some field trips but get more involved with the school wide, PTO type of activities.

    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
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  • I am probably the minority on this, but why would you want that much involvement?  Do most of the kids have a stay at home parent that has time?  Isn't pre-school to help them become more independent and get them ready for the school environment?  

    We do pre-school in our daycare.  We have a few evening parties, but that is about it.  For 4K I volunteer to help one day a month, volunteer to buy extra supplies, we are in charge of snack about once a month, come in for holiday parties and volunteer for field trips. I have met most of the parents during these times or during school sponsored (or PTA) events.  School time is for my child.  Not me.  My kids would be distracted with there so much.  I am there to support them at home.  
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  • My kids' preschool had a few ways that parents were involved:

    --all parents had to sign up for a cutting project where you got a pattern and a stack of paper, and you had to cut out paper stuff for the kids to assemble for some future art project.  You did this at home.

    --parents could sign up to visit the class and be a parent helper one or two days during the school year.  On your visit day, you helped the teachers or played with the kids as the situation required.

    --each month had a birthday celebration for all the kids with birthdays during that month.  Parents organized the snack and a craft on that day.

    --parents contributed goodies for special celebrations like Halloween party, Christmas party, Valentine's Day, Easter celebration, and end of year picnic.

    --parents who had a special career, hobby, or story were often called on to be guest speakers.  

    Maybe offer to organize the sign-ups for one of these type of things? 

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
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