As you well know, now that school is back in session, it’s a very busy time for families. One of the best things parents can do to help their child be successful in school is to become involved in the school community. Even if your time or resources are limited, there are many ways to be an active member of your child’s school.
Here are seven easy ways to be part of your child’s school success:
Join the school’s PTO or PTA. Even if you cannot regularly attend meetings, being a member keeps you current on school policies, events, and important information.
Read everything that is sent home from the class. Mark important dates on your family’s calendar. Always make every effort to attend parent-teacher conferences.
Become familiar with school policies, such as attendance, lunch protocols, discipline, etc. Ask questions if you don’t understand.
Meet his teacher and principal. Get to know the makeup of the class. How many students are in the class and in the school? Does anyone have an allergy that you should be aware of when packing a lunch? How much homework to expect? And so on.
Ask the teacher the best way to contact her. Does she prefer emails? Does she like a written note, as she might not see her emails until the end of the day? Ask for a short conference, if you have a particular issue you would like to discuss.
Monitor homework. Let your child work in a quiet place, with few distractions. Have a special homework folder. In the lower grades, students need to have homework checked before putting it back in the folder and returned to school. If your child doesn’t understand the assignment, write a short note or email to her teacher explaining why homework was not completed.
Volunteer to help if and when you can. You might not be available during school hours, but you may be able to attend evening meetings, sport events, or help the teacher put together a newsletter.
Getting involved in school helps your child thrive and contributes to improving the overall quality of his education. Most important, your involvement sends the subtle, yet strong message that doing well in school really matters!
Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.