Getting involved at your child’s school is a way of showing interest in your child’s education. It also shows the child that school is important. It is thus a worthwhile decision to volunteer to help organize and chaperone school activities and fundraising events.
Why get involved?
As a parent, volunteering at your child’s school provide a resource and support base for the school. This helps to teach the child the value of participating in the community and both your and the school benefit. Volunteering gives you an opportunity to interact more frequently with your child’s teachers and administrators and other parents. This provides chances for you to gain better understanding of the child’s activities. You also get to know the fads and trends in school which will help you communicate with your child.
Volunteerism should not stop in elementary school. It is also never too late to start being involved. In fact, there tends to be a shortage in parent volunteers in secondary school; mostly due to volunteerism burnout and parents returning to work after their children are grown. Your services as a volunteer will therefore be helpful to the school.
Finding the opportunity
For a start, get involved is attending parent-teacher conferences and open house. At these events, you can talk to the teachers or principal about volunteering at the school. The teacher can either organize something with you or refer you to an administrator who will assist. You can join the Parent’s Advisory Council or the Parent Teacher Association.
There are several volunteering opportunities you can take up at your child’s school. These include becoming a classroom helper, a mentor or a tutor, speaking on career day or in class about your field of expertise, helping kids with special needs; organizing or working at a school fundraising activity, and chaperoning field trips, track meets, graduations, proms and dances. You can also assist in theater productions, visual art, craft and design projects. Others include organizing clubs, science fairs and special interest groups and assisting at the library and in fitness programs.
Information you should find out
When you are thinking about volunteering, there are several questions that you should always ask. These include:
- How much time you’ll need to commit and will it be ongoing e.g. find out you’ll be maintaining the drama department supplies all year or just repairing costumes for the season.
- If you’ll need to meet any financial cost e.g. if you will have to pay for transport when chaperoning a school trip or if you’ll be driving the students in your own car.
- The school regulations that you’ll need to observe.
Things to remember when signing up
- Make it clear from the start how much time you are willing to commit.
- Don’t take on too much. Start small.
- Don’t give special treatment or undue attention to your child when volunteering
- Get feedback frequently. Find out from teachers and students how helpful your work is to them and what you can improve.
- Your help might foster confidence and self esteem and build skills in kids long after they’ve left school.