According to Danielle Wood, editor-in-chief of Education.com
, the best opportunities for classroom involvement occur when kids are younger. "Teachers are eager to have extra eyes, ears and hands in the classroom to keep things running smoothly," she says. She shares some simple ideas for how parents can get involved at both the early and later stages of their children's academic careers. Younger Children
- Be a class reader. Offer to come in to read to the whole class of children or to individual children who need more support.
- Work as a center/lab helper. Teaching things like science, art and computer lab to young children requires lots of hands-on help, and under tight budgets, these are often the first areas to be cut. If you have an interest in one of these areas, offer to come in once a week to lend a hand.
- Offer to tutor. Teachers usually have to teach to a wide range of abilities. Having parents on hand to give one-on-one support to students on the high and low ends of the spectrum gives the teacher more time to focus on the middle.
- Volunteer as class parent. If you have more time to give, this is a fantastic opportunity, usually involving organizing parties and teacher gifts throughout the year.
Learn about the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships and get 20 of PTA's ways to get involved
- Assist with a special interest club or drama group. With teachers being asked to do more and more with fewer resources, sometimes it's up to parents to keep extracurricular activities going.
- Speak to classes about your career or special expertise. One of the most important gifts you can give a child is the gift of inspiration. Older kids have moved beyond wanting to be a fireman or the president and need role models to teach them about other career opportunities.
- Work as library assistant. Helping kids discover books they love or research topics they're excited about can be a really rewarding experience for parents.
- Volunteer to help with sports programs. Keeping kids active is critical to their physical and emotional health. Parent involvement can do a lot for increasingly underfunded school sports programs.