Easy Ways to Get Involved in Your Child’s School
Here we are again. Long days at the pool will soon be memories replaced by new shoes, class schedules, and fall sports. Whether we like it or not, it’s back-to-school season!
Four years ago when my oldest started kindergarten, I remember feeling like I had entered a foreign world. I went from having both my girls home every day to sending one into someone else’s care for seven hour stretches. I vowed from the beginning of my life as a “school mom” to be as involved in her school experience as possible. I might not be her primary care giver during the school days, but I could still be involved and be a support to those who were. All schools benefit from parent involvement, and our kids’ educational success is tied to it as well. Therefore, I would like to share with you a few ideas to get involved with your child’s school this year.
- Join the PTA – This is perhaps the most obvious way to get involved in your child’s school but also one of the most beneficial. At our school this committee is called PALS (Parents Active in Learning Situations), but we are simply parents who care about our school and want to fundraise to give our kids and teachers a thriving learning environment. Our PALS committee raises thousands of dollars each year through our “Family Fun Night” fundraiser, and we are able to put that money right back into the school, purchasing things like playground equipment, iPads, drinking fountains, and more. Most schools have a PTA so ask when yours meets and get involved! If your school doesn’t have a PTA, perhaps you and a couple others could be the ones who start it.
- Turn in Your Box Tops – As you probably know, there are hundreds of products that include a “Box Top for Education” on the packaging. Each of these “Box Tops” earns your child’s school 10 cents when turned into the Box Top coordinator! When my girls were babies I often tossed these labels in the trash, not realizing how valuable they were. Now, however, I take joy in cutting them from packages of cereal, granola bars, tissues, and so much more. When everyone pitches in and turns in their Box Tops, schools are able to purchase needed items like books, computers, and all kinds of other supplies.
- Volunteer – Each school has various ways parents can volunteer. Talk to your child’s teacher, librarian, or principal to see what needs to be done. You can read to your child’s class, help decorate doors and bulletin boards, help with peewee sports or the after-school program, or tutor and mentor. Many students don’t get one-on-one time at home so donating your time to spend with a student in this way goes a long way in boosting his or her confidence and self-esteem.
- Help Organize Class Parties – Most classrooms have holiday parties during the year, and most teachers would love for you to ask how you can help! Perhaps you could organize a game, gift exchange, or who brings what food. When my second daughter graduated kindergarten, I helped organize her class graduation party. Don’t let being the organizer intimidate you. Most parents are happy to help when asked; they just need someone to get the ball rolling. Seeing my daughter and all her friends have a blast and making memories they’ll carry through school made the effort well worth it to me.
- Support the Teacher at Home – From the teachers I have talked to, one of the most helpful things we can do as a parent is to support their work from home. We do this by speaking positively about them to our children, reading to our children, encouraging our children to do their homework, and encouraging them to be on their best behavior.
- Get to Know the Kids in Your Child’s Class – This tip isn’t for the school itself but for the kids who are a part of it. One of the beautiful things to me about my kids being in public school is that there are plenty of unchurched kids to get to know – kids who haven’t been blessed to grow up in Christian homes and who know little about Jesus. As a product of public school myself, this aspect is close to my heart. Humbly I can say I believe my family and I had a strong influence on my school friends growing up, and as my husband and I parent our kids and get to know their friends, I pray we’re able to do the same. At the beginning of last school year, I took a risk and pulled into the driveway of a little girl in my daughter’s class. The two of them had become buddies, but I didn’t know her family at all. We invited her and her brother to church and ended up taking them every week for the rest of the school year. Our weekly visits to their apartment complex led to a whole vanload of their friends piling in to go to church with us too. I am so thankful for the doors that opened by getting to know one little girl.
Don’t let this list intimidate you. None of us can do it all! But choose at least one way to get involved you haven’t previously done and view it as ministry. Remember, as Christians, we take Jesus with us wherever we go. What better place to take Him than into our children’s schools!