As a teacher, when I talk to parents at Meet the Teacher Night in the beginning of the school year, I go through a list of typical topics: the curriculum, our assessment process, and our policies on illness, absences, and birthday parties. Then I always close with one of the most important subjects of all: I invite parents to help out in the classroom, and point out the benefits of volunteering at school.
Whether it's reading a Llama Llama book to the class, bringing in a tray of pierogis or bao dumplings for Heritage Day, or helping ring up sales at the holiday shopping fair, being active at school is beneficial for everyone involved. "Volunteering in your child's class gives you a delicious peek into your child's daily life," psychologist Eileen Kennedy-Moore told NY Parenting.
Happily, more parents are recognizing the value of being an active part of school life. A recent report from the nonprofit research organization Child Trends found that a record high of 89 percent of parents surveyed had attended a general meeting at their child's school in 2016, and another 79 percent went to a school or class event. Close to half (43 percent) had been a parent volunteer or served on a committee, a 4 percent increase since 1996.
As a teacher and a mother, I've seen first-hand how parent involvement can make a difference in both the school and in the children whose parents pitch in. It may not seem like much, but your participation is more valuable than you think for so many reasons.