I just spent the morning in my son’s classroom. Fortunately, my job allows me flexibility in my schedule, so I am able to volunteer one or two times a week. Today, I helped the children with reading, which is extremely rewarding. But other times, I sit in front of a paper cutter and stapler, collating workbooks and sorting papers, because that is what the teacher really needs help with.
We all know that parental participation is an essential part of a child’s education. Ask any parent you know and she’s likely to tell you she wishes she could be more involved at her child’s school. With so many of us juggling commitments at work and at home, it doesn’t leave much time for volunteering in the classroom. But that doesn’t mean you can’t support your child’s teacher. Consider these three ways to volunteer:
Ask your child’s teacher what she needs for the classroom and buy it.
As a room mom to my son’s kindergarten class, I think that most parents want to make themselves available, but don’t always know what is needed. Buying school supplies can be an easy and inexpensive way to help improve your child’s learning experience and assist the teacher. Many of the supplies teachers need are small necessities a school budget may not provide for, like Ziploc bags, envelopes or tissue.
Give your time.
In-kind donations are a way to give of yourself; you may not have the money to buy supplies for the classroom, but you surely have a talent or skill from which a teacher could benefit. Throughout the school year, teachers likely plan different projects that could benefit from skilled individuals who can speak Spanish, play a musical instrument, sew, conduct science experiments or work as an engineer. No matter what your field of expertise is, there’s a way to use your talents to improve your child’s classroom.
Be a room parent.
Dedicate yourself to helping the classroom teacher prepare materials and participate in class outings like field trips, seasonal celebrations and book fairs. There is always a need for someone to help with prep work like cutting, collating or photocopying. Some tasks might even be done in your own living room.
Nowadays, most teachers check their email at least a few times a day, so you can touch base with them whenever your schedule permits. It doesn’t matter how you volunteer, but that you do it! Whether you’re buying, building or filing papers, your child (and his teacher) will benefit from your participation.