During the last school year, I was called to the school nearly every day.
E was having trouble in class, on the playground, in the lunchroom, and with just about everything else school-related. I spent plenty of time in the Vice Principal’s office teary-eyed with a used Kleenex balled up in my fist so when the meetings were over, I was ready to run.
We are a few weeks into the new school year and so far (knock on wood) things are going smoothly. We’ve only had a few minor set-backs; E fell the second day and chipped his two front teeth and C picked up strep on day six but these incidents are small when compared to what we went through last year.
Things are going well, and although I’m still spending a great deal of time at the school, it’s by choice. I’ve been volunteering to help in the boy’s classrooms and I’ve even joined a PTO committee. I’m so happy that I can spend the time at school, see my kids, and get to know their friends. Plus, they are so happy when they see me there. Being a stay-at-home mom makes it a little easier for me to donate my time to the school, but there are many opportunities for working parents too.
Volunteer in the classroom: At “Meet the Teacher Night”, the teacher produced a volunteer form that allowed you to fill in the days and times you were available to come in and help out in the classroom. I have done everything from grading papers and decorating bulletin boards to helping groups of students with math projects. Being in the classroom gives you a good idea of what a typical day might be like for your child.
For working parents who can’t come in during the day, there is always the option of signing up to have busy work sent home. The teacher may send home things that need to be cut out or organized. You can allow your child to help, this way they know you’re doing something for their class even if you can’t be there during the day.
Join the PTO: The Parent Teacher Organization helps raise money through fundraising and plans and provides many activities for students and their families. They also provide funds to the teachers to buy things for their classrooms. Joining the PTO helps you understand why it’s important to sell all that cookie dough and where the fundraising money goes after it’s been collected. Meetings take place in the evenings so most will be able to make it.
There are many committees and volunteer opportunities through the PTO, both during school and after. Some of the activities at our school include:
Family events such as Cookies with Santa. Using funds raised from the book fair, Santa is able to distribute books to all the “good” boys and girls. At the Flapjack Funfest, families are treated to a pancake breakfast on a Saturday morning in the school cafeteria. Family Skate Night, Dad’s Night, and more provide numerous opportunities for the working parent to volunteer outside of school time.
Getting involved is important not only to know what your child is up to during the school day, but because you can be a part of making your child’s school the best it can be.