Have you ever thought about getting involved in your children's school and volunteering your time to help in their classroom?
When I was a kid, my mum came to help out in my classroom now and then, but especially around Christmas time. How could I possibly forget that epic year, when she helped us to make a nativity scene out of Fairy Liquid bottles!
I loved having my mum in the class and I remember feeling really proud. Thankfully, my son is just as enthusiastic for me to do the same, as I have the opportunity to help in my son’s class.
At the recent parents evening meeting, I asked my son's teacher if there would be an opportunity for me to come into the class and help out, with anything. She was very enthusiastic about it. And well, here I am, just two weeks later, perching my rather large butt on a rather small chair, getting creative with my son and his 20 classmates.
My task was to help the kids make teacup candles to sell at the upcoming Christmas market. The children had all bought in old ceramics and cups from home and the teacher had collected old candles that we melted down and brought back to life. I had never done this before, so it was all new to me!
Aside from the fun and giggles we had, it gave me a great opportunity to engage with the teacher who, until now, I didn’t know so well. It was also a good opportunity to get to know my son’s friends better and observe what they were doing in the class. The kids were so enthusiastic and asking lots of questions and they wanted to help with everything.
Volunteering like this is also a great opportunity to see how your own child behaves in class (although I realise my son’s behaviour might be different when I’m not there).
"it gave me a great opportunity to engage with the teacher who, until now, I didn’t know so well"
It gave me a great chance to look around the class to see what other activities they had been up to. Normally we would only have this opportunity at parents evening but I really got to see what other creative projects the kids were working on and was even invited to listen in on their reading time with the older kids and visit another classroom to see an art project.
I felt very privileged and am grateful for this opportunity to spend time in my son’s class. I appreciate that it is not always possible for parents to do this, due to work schedules, or perhaps some teachers don’t encourage it. But I would certainly highly recommend asking your child’s teacher if there is something you can get involved in and then really make the time, where possible. Take a half days holidays or reschedule something, because it really is worth it.
"this time gives you a unique opportunity to bond with your child and have an insight into their daily routine that you would not normally see"
There are a number of activities you could get involved in, whether it is joining in to help make Christmas decorations, or to help with reading in small groups, or perhaps join on a school outing, where extra hands are always welcome. Whatever it is, this time gives you an unique opportunity to bond with your child, and have an insight into their daily routine that you would not normally see. Also from what I gather from other teachers I know, they welcome extra help especially with the reading and crafts. In my case, our teacher was extremely grateful and said I would be welcome any time!
5 reasons to volunteer in your kid's class:
1. It shows your interest and support in your child’s education.
2. It gives you precious time with your child during their own daily routine
3. It's an opportunity to improve communication and relations with your child’s teacher
4. It is an ideal chance to get to know your child’s friends
5. You can learn more about how things work in your child’s class and school
Further reading suggestions:
Activities to promote parent involvement:
This is a useful guide aimed at teachers, but makes interesting reading for parents too, to understand how they can approach a teacher:
Great article on the benefits of volunteering in class:
Learn how even busy parents can help out their kids' schools: