There’s no denying it. Parent involvement in the classroom is mutually beneficial for parents, students and teachers. For teachers, it provides some much-needed support and allows them to get to know parents better, making future communications easier. It also gives teachers the opportunity to spend extra time with students who need more help.
Studies have shown that the children of parent volunteers have higher test scores and grades, along with better behaviour and higher self-esteem. For other students in the classroom, role model relationships can be built when they get to know the parents of their peers. Finally, there’s also much for parents to gain. Volunteering gives parents an inside look at their child’s school routine, fostering better communication between parent and child and increasing parents’ awareness of what’s going on at their child’s school.
Despite the many benefits, it’s sometimes difficult to recruit parent volunteers. Here are five tips for increasing parent involvement in the classroom. And don’t forget to thank them with school promotional products.
- Get in touch digitally: Sending notes home are a thing of the past. Studies show that almost 60 percent of parents prefer to hear about volunteer opportunities online or by email. Ask parents to volunteer through email, making it easy for them to respond with a couple clicks. Consider using a social media event or an online scheduling app, like com, to easily sync the dates with parents’ personal calendars. At the beginning of the school year, introduce your digital scheduling plan to parents and give them a logo’d school promo item, such as a Charger Pouch with Ear Buds.
- Give options for all schedules: More than 70 percent of parents say their work schedule interferes with their ability to regularly volunteer. Ask parents to come in first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. Find tasks that can be done at home in the evenings. Or inquire about a time that works for them and find a task that can be done on their time. Before they volunteer, help parents keep track of their time in the classroom with a monthly planner or a pocket planner.
- Work in pairs: Everything is more fun with friends. A parent may be more likely to volunteer if they know someone already volunteering. Encourage parents to bring a friend, and you’ll receive double the amount of help.
- Play to their strengths: If reading in front of a class or tutoring in small groups causes anxiety, ask what type of tasks parents would enjoy doing instead. Maybe organizing classroom materials or prepping for an art project would better suit their talents. If parents are using their strengths and having fun, they will be more likely to volunteer again and again.
- Say thank you: At the end of every volunteer experience, make sure you express your gratitude. Have students sign a card and pair it with a school promo item. Sending parents home with a school promotional product that can be used repeatedly, like a sport bottle or a pocket tote, shows just how much you appreciate their time in the classroom.
The next time you’re having a tough time recruiting parent volunteers, pull out these tips to engage parents in the classroom. And don’t forget to say thanks with a school promotional product.