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Staying Involved with your Children's School

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 29 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Staying Involved With Your Children's School

Lots of people work together to make a school a happy learning environment – not just teachers and other staff but also parents and local community members. Schools function best when they are the focal point of the community, with parents donating their time, energy, resources and skills to make it the best place for learning possible.

Parental involvement in school is crucial. When parents feel encouraged to come to their children's school and volunteer their time and expertise, it's a win-win situation for everyone. Studies confirm that such involvement has an enormous impact on children's attitude toward school and general attendance levels, as well as their academic achievement.

While home-based activities (helping with homework etc) are vital, parents who make time to actually come to the school during school hours at least once a term make an enormous difference as well. Even working parents should be able to structure their schedules to accomplish this: arrive at work an hour late and stay an extra hour in the evening, for example. Then you can come to school at 9am and read with the kids for 40 minutes.

Here are some more tips to help you get more involved:

Top Six Ways to Get Involved:

  1. Attend school events
  2. Join the PTA.
  3. Become a class rep – or even a governor
  4. Help plan an event yourself.
  5. Volunteer to help out in your child's class.
  6. Go on a school trip

Attend school events
It can be a parent-teacher meeting, your child's class performance or a school concert. Just showing that you care enough to be involved is important. It also gives a boost to the parents, teachers and pupils who spend long hours planning events. When children have worked long and hard to plan something special, nothing is more soul-destroying than a low parental turn-out

Join the PTA.
Parent Teacher Associations often are the main link between parents and teachers, and they are crucial to encouraging open communication between the school and the rest of the community. You can do as little or as much as you wish, either joining the PTA Board, or just helping serve at a class tea

Become a class rep – or even a governor
Class reps are often the integral tie between parents and the school, they organise coffee mornings, help plan class events and do administrative tasks that nobody else wants to do. While some of the work can be tedious, it's an important job. And if you're the rep, you'll have the luxury of planning everything around your own work schedule! And remember, most governor meetings are in the evenings – easy to fit around work.

Help plan an event yourself
School events are often held in evenings or on weekends. For working mums, helping out at an event is one way to make a commitment to the school outside of work hours. Choose to help with something you are interested in – perhaps the school Quiz Night if your general knowledge is up to scratch, or a music performance if you're a professional musician. You'll find you get a lot more out of it than you put in!

Volunteer to help out in your child's class
Sharing your time and talents, even for one hour a term, can greatly boost the school curriculum and boost learning. If you're a computer whizz, come talk to the class about computers. Are you a fantastic chef or an actor? Let the children benefit from your wealth of knowledge. Alternatively, most schools encourage parents to come in and read with children or help with maths homework.

Go on a school trip
Chaperones are often needed to accompany children on trips to museums, libraries, even the cinema. Speak to the class teacher to see when the next class trip is coming up and plan accordingly. Your children will love your company as well. You may be required to have a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check

Parents should be encouraged to be involved in their children's schooling both at home and at school. Everyone has their own abilities, preferences and desires, so think of a way to help out that is suitable for both the school and yourself. When you feel that you are making a valuable contribution to your child's schooling, you are helping both yourself and others.

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