How to be an Effective Parent Volunteer

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Mother and child girl playing in kindergarten in Montessori preschool Class.In our time-crunched society, it can be a struggle to stay active in your child’s school.  Many of us work during the day, or have younger children at home and can’t come to school regularly to volunteer in classrooms, attend PTA meetings, be the party-planning room parent, or chaperone field trips.  There are still many ways to stay active in your child’s education from kindergarten through high school that will not only benefit your child, but you as well.

Children achieve more when their parents are invested in their education.  By being present at school conferences, performances, and competitions, children see that their parents are interested in them and their day-to-day life.  You get to see your child in the context of his peer group, meet his friends, and get a sense of the culture of the school. Children see you form relationships with their teachers and friends, and by extension, the school community.

What Can I Do?

Visit an elementary school on any given day and you will see a steady stream of parent volunteers signing in and out of the office.  The end of the year Volunteer Appreciation Assembly at the school where I teach in the Detroit area is attended by no less than 100-200 volunteers who have helped in some way throughout the year.

There are many opportunities to help in elementary school. You can:

    •  Listen to children read or practice math facts
    •  Be a “Mystery Reader” and read a favorite book to your child’s class
    •  Copy or laminate teaching materials
    •  Plan a class holiday party
    •  Offer to present programs such as Art Smart or the Math Pentathlon
    •  Attend evening events (Halloween Party, Science Fair, dances and sporting events)
    •  Prepare class materials at home
    •  Help organize fundraisers, such as Box Tops for Education
    •  Chaperone a field trip
    •  Organize or participate in an after-school program such a Study Buddies, basketball, Spanish Club, Wordmasters, etc.
    •  Help in the Media Center, shelving books or assisting with technology

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