Have you ever needed help in your classroom? How about on a field trip? What about with a class party? If you answered yes to any, or all, of the above you need parents! Parents, much like teacher assistants, can be a huge help in your classroom and usually you will have a few willing volunteers. So, how can you use parent volunteers in your classroom?
#1 Gets Parents to School
One way to get parent volunteers involved is to get them to the school. You can get parents into the school by having them:
- Help with a class party
- Involve them in a festival night
- Come in as a guest reader or speaker
- Be a chaperone on a field trip
Having parents help with a class party or a festival night gets them into the classroom in a no pressure kind of way. If you have a parent that is a little stand-offish, this is a great way to get them involved in the classroom.
Ask your parents to be a guest speaker or reader and get them into the classroom. Finally, invited parents to a field trip allows you to get to know the parent on a deeper level. The parent gets to be active in a learning opportunity for his/her student.
No matter how you get parent volunteers into the classroom, you are giving them a glimpse into their child’s education which can help build trust.Parents, much like teacher assistants, can be a huge help in your classroom and usually you will have a few willing volunteers. Click To Tweet
#2 Involve Parents at Home
Another way to get parents involved is to bring school to them. If a parent does not feel comfortable coming into the classroom, you can still get them involved by sending home fun activities with your students. When you send an activity home, give your students and parents some time to get it done, maybe a few days. Then, have your students journal about the experience working with their parents. You can give these journal entries to parents at conferences or send them in the mail. Giving the journals to your parents will show them how important parent involvement is not only for you, but for their kids.
#3 Create a Room Parent
Being a room parent is also a great way for parents to get involved in the classroom. While there are usually only one or two contact parents, you could have a rotation if you have several volunteers. A room parent is a parent who helps relay messages in the classroom about cancelled, postponed, or changed plans. This parent or these parents can also help communicate classroom party needs or create “committees” for different activities.
#4 Develop a Parent Resource Binder
If you want to get as many parent volunteers involved as possible, you can create a parent resource binder at the beginning of the school year. How do you do this?
- Create a list of ways parents can be involved in your classroom. This can be parent chaperones, parent activities, or really anything where a parent would be an asset in your classroom.
- Talk to parents as they come in to meet you at open house. If you a parent doesn’t come to open house, make a phone call to introduce yourself.
- Ask parents to sign up for one thing they would like to help with. When you ask parents to do this, make sure you emphasize why you want them to sign up: to be involved in their child’s education.
- Write all of this information down in a binder, so you know who you can count on.
By having this information on hand, you’ll ensure you have as many parents involved as possible. Plus you’ll have an idea what they enjoy doing. This can become a resource when you need something that you weren’t expecting in the classroom.
#5 Generate a Student Resource Binder (with Parent Help!)
Beyond getting parents involved with classroom events, you can get parents involved by helping create a student resource binder. While this might sound super serious, it’s just a great way to build rapport with your students. At the beginning of the school year, send your students home with two copies of “My List of Favorites and Least Favorites” worksheet. On this worksheet, the directions should instruct the parents and the students to fill out the information separately. Then compare their answers.
In the end, students would bring back their answers and you could put them in a binder. With this information, you would gain valuable insight into your students’ likes and dislikes which could come in handy throughout the school year. In addition to getting this information, you are getting your parents involved in their students’ education and you gaining their trust while gaining student rapport.
#6 Invite Parents into Your Tribe
Finally, one the best ways to get parents involved in your classroom, in activities, and in their children’s education is to invite them into your tribe. Every teacher has a tribe and we usually think that consists of teachers and only teachers, but it can really include anyone. Parents can be a great asset inside and outside of the classroom and having them as part of your tribe can be a game changer.
Parents are a vital part of your classroom because they are a vital part of your students’ lives. Having parents get involved in the classroom can be the biggest game changer you have this year.