Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ideal Parental Involvement

Happy New Year!!

Each new year encourages us to set goals personally and professionally.To kick off the new year, I have added a variety of new resources for teachers and parents to my Kindergarten Readiness website ( I will continue to add new articles, documents, Powerpoint presentations, and links to the website each month. Plus I am working on a pumped up 2011 version of my ebook, The Kindergarten Readiness Guide!

As parents, I'm sure you are in the process of setting your own goals. I have heard many moms and dads say that they would like to become more involved in their children's education. So I have been thinking about "ideal" parental involvement in schools and classrooms. So here are my top 11 for 2011!

As a teacher and preschool director, IDEALLY, I would expect parents to be involved in the following ways (or most of them) and I hope that when I have children, I am able to be involved in all of these ways as well:
  1. Drop off child in the morning and pick up child in the afternoon/evening and spend a minute or two speaking with the teachers to maintain daily contact. This is a great time to make sure everything is going well at school socially, emotionally, physically, and academically and if not, this is a great time to schedule an appointment to meet and talk further. Furthermore, this gives parents time to see the classroom, look at student work on the walls, speak with other parents, receive reminders about school events, holidays, field trips, book fairs, etc.
  2. Read all emails, newsletters, and flyers that come from the school and respond/RSVP within a day or two. Turn in field trip money and donations when requested in a timely manner. Return all phone calls from school or the teacher the same day or the next day.
  3. Send your child to school clothed properly for the weather with proper shoes and a tummy full of a healthy breakfast.
  4. Provide your child with everything they need for the day every day (complete healthy lunch and drink, homework folder, backpack, water, change of clothes, permission slips, etc)
  5. Carve out time to attend a couple field trips, all parent teacher conferences, and most school events such as plays, Mother's Tea, and Thanksgiving feasts. If parents cannot attend, ask a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or older sibling to attend instead.
  6. Read to their child every night before bed. Talk to their child every day in detail about school, friends, and life. Try to teach them something new about themselves and the world whenever possible.
  7. Help children complete homework and school projects on time. Don't do it for them but give them the space to work on it themselves and give them guidance and support when needed.
  8. Volunteer in the classroom once or twice a year either reading to kids, setting up school events like the Thanksgiving Feast, organizing a fundraiser, carpooling for a field trip, etc. Offer to be a guest speaker if you have an interesting job.
  9. Ask questions when you don't understand why something happened in class or you have concerns. Ask respectfully and nicely, but ask rather than letting it upset you or bother you further. Send an email or make a phone call rather than opening the conversation in front of other parents at pick-up or drop-off time. Keep the lines of communication open.
  10. Let teachers know when something is going on at home that might affect the child's behavior, attitudes, or motivation. Let teachers know ahead of time if the family will be going out of town and the child will be missing school.
  11. During parent teacher conferences, listen to the teachers observations and recommendations and try to understand their point of view. Then ask questions, ask for clarification, or express concerns and come up with a game plan together.
 School starts up again in a couple days. So get in there and get involved! And have a very Happy, Safe, and Healthy New Year!