Ideas to Increase Parent InvolvementBy Teachers.Net Community
mermaid – I find a good room parent really helps, one that can organize and take charge and not need too much of my guidance
Addie /MO – true, meeha, it is hard to have one handy unless it is yours. i usually used my own for that reason even though the school’s was better
Leslie – then throughout the year i send home notes asking for ingredients for cooking centers, film etc.
Kat/1st/nj – Yes! Mermaid, I also ask for a parent volunteer at BTS night to take charge of the Book Orders for the year! this has been a lifesaver to me. All I do is separate the orders when they come in.
meeha/ece/tx – Kat — i’m working on that letter now … i got more candles, candy, pretty scents and nic-nacs this past year than i know what to do with
Addie /MO – now, that is a good idea, kat. book orders can be time consuming
Peachy/K/NC – I agree about the book orders. We had a great volunteer this year for the first time. It’s a BIG help!
Deb/AL/1st – I understand how kar feels. I find it difficult to ask parents for donations too. I guess it comes from searching through Wal-Mart aisles for my kids supplies and listening to parents complain about the supplies they have to buy their kids and why doesn’t the school supply them.
mermaid – I always have a parent do the book orders, they really seem to appreciate being able to help
kar – will have to ask for a book order volunteer next school year
meeha/ece/tx – i’ve found that there is a parent who likes to do book orders, too, mermaid! great idea — i’d forgotten that one!
mermaid – I always include a “wish list” column in my newsletter, I usually get what I need
Linda/2/CA – The only time we can get parents involved is if there is a party or their kids are performing
meeha/ece/tx – Linda … i’d have lots of performances or parties, then!
Kat/1st/nj – Right now I’m thinking I wish I could find a parent who is will to make “chair pockets”…I don’t sew!!
Addie /MO – i think most parents want to help and feel a part of things. i simply explain that in kindergarten kids learn best through active hands-on activities and these activities require supplies that typically are not provided by the school and i am not independently wealthy, so i need their help to provide this kind of optimum classroom environment for their child. i don’t feel guilty at all….. they are “their kids” and if the parents want the best for them, they cannot expect to simply be spectators in the educational process.
meeha/ece/tx – it may not be a full-blown party, but when you study a country, you sample or cook its food … parents are needed then … or you learn a new dance,etc — use those parents!
Linda/2/CA – Meecha–no way!! Parents come to parties with their pre-school kids and just sit–never offer to help. As for performances–I have seen 3 year olds who behave better than the parents at these performances.
kar – I have sent out a parent helper letter at the beginning of the year asking for guest readers, “expert” guest speakers, field trip and party help, someone to come in and make a special snack with the children, and now I know about asking someone to do book orders. Are there any other creative jobs to include on the help list?
Peachy/K/NC – Has anyone had luck with getting a parent to sew…dress ups, puppets, chair pockets, etc.?
mermaid – If they are not too involved, sometimes a girl scout troop (of boys, I guess too) are looking for a community service project to take on
meeha/ece/tx – i think the best thing about parents in the room is their ability to carryover the curriculum in the home if they are there enough! those kids really seem to do better in the long run!
Addie /MO – meeha, we have had good luck with “celebration” types of things and getting parents to come in…..maybe special learning centers or a “grand finale” to a unit
meeha/ece/tx – Peachy — i sent home a bag of fabric one year and a mom sent back about eight diapers, 3 baby blankets, some t-shirts, a tablecloth and napkins! she was a gem!
kar – Addie, I love the way you put that–parents should not just be spectators in the learning process
mermaid – I have had G.S. and B.S leaders make a lot of materials for my classroom
meeha/ece/tx – Peachy — that might be a good scouting project, too!??
Leslie – time for me to run, thanks for sharing such great ideas everyone
Peachy/K/NC – How wonderful, meeha! I do ask on our volunteer form if anyone sews. No enthusiastic responses yet.
meeha/ece/tx – another source of volunteers … in or out of the classroom … 49’ers at a local church … a nursing home …
Addie /MO – i think that when the parents are in the room helping out they also have a better picture of what it is like in the classroom and how you have to be there for everyone, not just their child. i think it broadens their vision
meeha/ece/tx – adopt-a-grandparent … the benefits flow both ways!
Deb/AL/1st – I have difficulty getting parents to transition in reading. They have a hard time allowing their children to read to them instead of the parents doing all the reading. Any ideas?
Kat/1st/nj – Thanks for all the fantastic ideas everyone! Goodnight!!
meeha/ece/tx – Deb — in the classroom or at home?
Linda/2/CA – We used to have a parent visitation day every month–they would come and spend part or all of the day working in the class–really changed their view of what went on there–and great for PR
Deb/AL/1st – Both
mermaid – At home or volunteer listeners in the classroom?
Peachy/K/NC – Artistic parents, grandparents, etc. can do posters or pictures for units.
mermaid – Ear mark special books for kids reading and a reader’s chair in the classroom
mermaid – Make it child size
Peachy/K/NC – or bulletin boards.
Linda/2/CA – Deb–I simply told my parents that the kids were expected to read one book each night and that if they wanted to read extra books to them, that was ok, but that the child needed to practice his/her reading
Addie /MO – deb, could you do an informative meeting about supporting kids in different stages of reading, so that they could learn to scaffold their child’s reading?
meeha/ece/tx – Deb — one idea i’ve seen is to have the child read to the parent as the parent prepares a meal, t he parent reads to the child as the child sets the table or empties the dishwasher!
Deb/AL/1st – I conference with parents and write letters but to no avail. Most parents just get tired of hearing them read. It’s too painful for them.
meeha/ece/tx – letting your child read to you is kind of like letting your child dress himself … it takes longer to get it done, but in the longrun it is worth the effort!
Deb/AL/1st – I totally agree meeha. My youngest was at that stage not too long ago. I like the ideas about having the child read while making supper. I did those( and still do) with my children. I guess I expect everyone to do the same.
Linda/2/CA – Make sure that the child has books at his/her reading level–I used to have a problem with kids reading at level 12 taking home a level 22 book–then I leveled the books and they know which ones are for them to read
meeha/ece/tx – has anyone ever created a parent orientation handbook or guide sheet … explaining the importance of letting the children explore and make mistakes — then go back and repair them … how behavior is managed and WHO manages it in the room … guidelines for parent roles and teacher roles int he room?
Linda/2/CA – We have given parent workshops on literacy methods–well attended
Deb/AL/1st – ooo meeha, that would have been a great thing to do in my grad. work. I think that will be my project for July.
Peachy/K/NC – I would love to do that, meeha. It would probably help a lot.
kar – Does anyone find that the children of the parent helpers in your room behave very differently when mom is there? Do you address this beforehand
Addie /MO – we have a video called duolog reading which goes with accelerated reader that teaches a method of supported reading.
meeha/ece/tx – one thing i did establish in my room a couple of years ago was a notebook in which i keep copies of newsletters and other papers sent home throughout the year … have been wanting to add a parent reference library and some info i pull from here ….
Addie /MO – it would be good for a parent workshop
meeha/ece/tx – kar — i just tell the parent their child may act out … if it gets out of hand, i tell the child mom will have to go help ms. xxx! that often resolves the behavior issue!
Addie /MO – kar, that is a good question. it depends on the kid and parents. i always explain to the parent before they start volunteering that if their child cannot adjust to the parent being in the room for one reason or another, then we will have to make other arrangements.
meeha/ece/tx – (i also let parents know it isn’t uncommon for a child’s behavior to be different when the parent is there than when they are not … and not to be distressed by what they see!)
Addie /MO – i also handle it like meeha, by talking to the child about the behavior. they want their parents there, so normally it does put a stop to it
Peachy/K/NC – Thanks everyone. This was really helpful! Goodnight!
kar – Most of the parents in my classes come in to help at one time or other throughout the school year–I always feel awful for the one or two children whose parents don’t ever make it in to help
meeha/ece/tx – kar — sometimes you can find a special community member the child can ‘adopt’ for the day they are there! let the child show that person around, introduce them,e tc.
meeha/ece/tx – well, thank you for being here tonite for our discussion about parent involvement in early childhood and primary classrooms!