Parent Participation: How to Get Involved in Your Child’s School Activities

Parent involvement in a child’s education is crucial. When parents get involved in their children’s education, children are more likely to do better in school, be better behaved, have more positive attitudes toward school, and grow up to be more successful in life.

Fortunately, the relationship between parents and the school staff is usually quite good. In most instances teachers and principals welcome your input and your hands-on involvement in the school. Active involvement in the parent-teacher association (PTA) is an excellent way to provide the school with your help and input in an organized way.

One of the best starting points for getting involved is a parent-teacher conference or open house. These are usually scheduled early in each school year, and are a great opportunity to approach your child’s teachers or principal about volunteer involvement.

If you have something to offer, or if you just want to help out in whatever way you can, discuss the possibilities with teachers, who might arrange something with you personally or direct you to a department head or administrator who can answer your questions and make suggestions. It’s also a good idea to join the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) or parents’ advisory council. Occasionally, the relationship among teachers, administrators, and enthusi­astic mothers or fathers becomes strained and frustrating for all parties. Whether parents are lobbying for a new program for their child’s school or are trying to serve as an advocate for their own child, who might be having difficulty with a particular subject area or teacher, their input can sometimes be perceived as more disruptive than helpful, no matter how well-intentioned it may be.

To make your rparticipating parentrelationship with the school productive, show the staffs re­spect, listen to their point of view, exhibit some flexibility, and find compro­mises whenever possible. Both you and the school have the same goal in mind—to educate your child—so try to work with the teacher and staff rather than assuming an adversarial stance.

The best way to stay involved in your child’s school activities

Attend school events: events like sports and concerts, student exhibitions, parent-teacher meetings, parents’ night, and awards events.

Learn what the school offers: Read the information the school sends home, and ask to receive information in your native language if necessary. Talk to other parents to find out what programs the school offers. Maybe there’s a music program, after-school activity, sports team, or tutoring program your child would enjoy. Remember to keep track of events throughout the school year; you can do this by joining the schools social networks.

Attend parent organization meetings: At most schools, a group of parents meets regularly to talk about the school. This group is usually called the PTA. The meetings give you a good chance to talk with other parents and to work together to improve the school, as well as the chance to voice your hopes and concerns for your child and for the school. Help organize parent-teacher meetings around your interests and those of other parents. If you are unable to attend these meetings, ask that the minutes of the meetings be sent to you. Or, find out if the school makes these minutes available on its Web site.

 

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