An exciting concept designed to create a partnership between parents and teachers, the Parent Involvement Program brings you into the classroom to participate in your child's day-to-day education. You and the teacher share a deep concern for your child's welfare, and there is no better way to encourage your child's growth and development than by working together to meet her or his educational needs.
How Does This Program Benefit My Child?
The primary focus of the parent involvement program is on the child. It aims to meet children's needs more fully by making your school's educational program more flexible, and thus more child-oriented, through increased personal attention and assistance.
As a parent, you are already aware of childhood curiosity. Your child wants to learn - but a lack of learning opportunities can stifle natural desire to find out about the many things that make up the world. By helping your child's teacher, you both can offer new and varied experiences - suited to his or her interests and capabilities.
What Will I Gain From Participating in the Program?
Your school system needs your support to carry out its programs. By working in your schools, you will become more familiar with these programs, and you will see why they are vital to your child. With this new understanding of educational needs and goals, you can give the schools the backing they need and encourage others to do the same.
You will learn more about everyday happenings in the classroom from the increased communication and interaction between you and the teacher.
You will have the satisfaction of helping children during a very important stage in their development.
You will be able to provide the teacher with valuable information about your child and your community - creating a link between school and community so vital in our multi-ethnic society.
You will learn new skills in working with children.
To sum it up, participation in the parent involvement program will give you a chance to make a significant contribution to your child, your schools, and your community.
Why Do Teachers Need My Help?
Today, there is an increasing emphasis on individualized instruction - fitting the curriculum to the child. But time and money often work against a teacher who wants to employ new methods and materials, who wants to give each child personal guidance.
When you assist teachers with growing paperwork, make instructional materials, or conduct a science experiment, you give them more time for planning activities, for trying new teaching strategies, and for working directly with children. As a parent volunteer, you allow them to be more effective teachers - and the school obtains your skills and services that might be unavailable elsewhere due to financial limitations.
Do Teachers Really Want Me in the Classroom?
Teachers, like anyone else, want to be as effective in their work as they can, and your help will enable them to devote more time to professional activities. Remember the parent involvement program is voluntary for them, too. If they did not feel you would be a valuable asset to the instructional program, they would not ask for your help.
How Can I Help in the Classroom?
There are so many activities parents can participate in - all of which mean an enriched learning experience for children - it would be impossible to list them all here. For example, there are clerical jobs such as completing attendance forms or filing instructional materials. Or you can work directly with children as you read them stories or help them play educational games. If you have an unusual hobby, you can be a "guest speaker" and show the class some of your work.
The activities you participate in will be decided by you and the teacher you work with. In this way, the teacher can plan lessons with a knowledge of your skills and interests, and provide you with a variety of interesting tasks.
You can also contribute your ideas about the parent involvement program or the educational system in general. Being a parent, you have a different viewpoint that is valuable to the teacher.
What Are the Qualifications for a Parent Volunteer?
It is very easy to qualify - and the rewards are great. The basic requirements are simple. You should:
- enjoy working with children
- have an interest in education and the community
- feel a commitment to the goals of the parent involvement program
- want to help
- be dependable and in good health
How Much Time Do I Have to Spend at School?
It's strictly up to you! You can work out a schedule convenient to you and the teacher - from several days a week to an hour a month. If you don't have transportation or if you have preschool children, you can set up carpools or share baby-sitting services with other volunteers. If you work during the day, you can still contribute by making things at home or helping with weekend activities.
Both fathers and mothers should remember that it is important for children to have contact with parents in the classroom - whether you come to school to tell them about your job or make recordings of instructional drills for them to listen to. Whatever time you can give will be appreciated - it means more learning opportunities for each child.
To Whom Will I Be Responsible?
You will determine your schedule and activities with the teacher you are assisting, who will be your primary contact at the school. He or she will be there at all time to guide you and offer suggestions. The program is based on a cooperative partnership. The teacher plans and initiates learnings activities, and you reinforce these efforts by motivating students, stimulating their interest in learning, and building their self-confidence.
When Can I Start?
Right now - by volunteering your services and by offering any suggestions you have to help teachers plan a more effective program. You can also contact your friends and encourage them to participate. The success of your school's parent involvement program will be determined by your enthusiasm and interest - so get involved! The result will be a more meaningful education for your child.