How to Get Involved at Your Child's School

Three Methods:Looking for Volunteer Opportunities at the SchoolWorking in the ClassroomVolunteering to Keep Kids Safe

Getting involved in your child’s school is a great way to support your child’s education and the community. There are many different ways that parents can get involved, even when they do not have much free time to devote to it. The involvement opportunities vary from school to school so it is always a good idea to find out what is available in order to figure out which activities suit your personal schedule the best.

Method 1
Looking for Volunteer Opportunities at the School

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    Attend Back to School Night to find out about volunteer opportunities. Most schools announce involvement and volunteer opportunities at Back to School Night at the beginning of the school year or during parent-teacher conferences sporadically throughout the year.[1]
    • If your child’s teacher or administrator doesn’t mention volunteer opportunities at these meetings, they can be a great opportunity to approach them yourself.
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    Join the PTA. The Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) is a very common way for parents to become involved in their child’s school. The PTA usually requires a membership fee which not only admits the parent to the school PTA, but also to the national organization. Parents can often be elected to hold the office of president, vice president, treasurer, and recording secretary in the school PTA.
    • School PTA meetings are held about once a month and can involve anything from managing fundraisers to discussing changes to the curriculum and education standards that are being implemented in the school.
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    Contact the office. If your child’s school doesn’t have a PTA group, contact the office or teacher to see what volunteer opportunities are available. Some schools publish volunteer opportunities in a periodic newsletter or on the school website.
    • Ask your child’s teacher the best way to stay involved on current volunteer needs.
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    Suggest your own volunteer opportunities. Most schools are always in need of volunteers, and there are generally a lot of ways to get involved. Choose the activity and outlet that matches your schedule and interests. If there is a particular project or event coming up or if you see a need at the school, don’t be afraid to approach a teacher or administrator with a suggestion of how you would like to be involved.[2]
    • If you have expertise in a certain area or see a need that fits your interest and skillset, contact your child’s teacher to see if there is a way to volunteer in that area.
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    Consider your schedule when figuring out your volunteer plans. There are opportunities to get involved that will match nearly every parent’s schedule. Be open about your availability and time commitments from the beginning to find the volunteer activity that will work best for you.
    • Stay-at-home parents might be more able to help in the classroom during the day, while parents who work can help with evening special events or by representing the school at school board meetings.
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    Stay up-to-date on the events going on at the school. Attending school events is a great way to be involved in the school. These events include Open House, book fairs, science fairs, spelling bees, festivals, class productions, and sporting events. These events give the children higher self-esteem and pride in their school.
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    Donate supplies if you do not have time to volunteer. Things like No.2 pencils, folders, art materials, and other common school supplies are necessary for the children to succeed in school, but some families cannot provide them for their children. If a child does not have the supplies that they need, the teacher will usually provide it. Often teachers will purchase these extra supplies with their own money so that the children do not have to go without.
    • Schools can always use help with having enough supplies for all of the children and many of them have established Wish Lists that they will provide to parents.
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    Ask questions. Before committing to volunteer at the school, ask questions so you are clear as to what is expected of you. Find out the schedule and time requirements for your assignment, as well as who you’ll be working with and if there is any financial requirement, such as purchasing supplies or paying for admission on a field trip.[3]
    • Clearly understanding your role can help avoid confusion later.
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    Attend training if necessary. Depending on your volunteer assignment, you may be required to attend trainings. This can be as informal as meeting with a PTA leader to learn how a certain event works, or as formal as going to a district-wide safety training that some school districts may require.
    • In general, once you are trained on a school or school district’s practices, you don’t need to be re-trained for a while.

Method 2
Working in the Classroom

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    Sign in when you get to the school. For safety reasons, most schools do not allow a parent to just walk in and go to a classroom. Instead, the parent needs to stop in the office and sign in. Sometimes this just involves literally writing their name and arrival time in a ledger as well as the intention of the visit.
    • There are also schools with more advanced visitor programs that require the parent to scan their driver’s license and wear a temporary name badge that is printed out with the date and time of the visit.
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    Sign out when you leave. The parent needs to stop in the office at the end of their visit as well, in order to sign out and turn in the temporary name badge. Not only are these systems used for the safety of the children and staff, but also for the parent by accounting for everyone that is in the building in the case of a fire or other disaster.
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    Sign up to be the class parent. Most elementary schools encourage parents to sign up to be the class parent for their child’s room. The class parent is the one that is responsible for the arrangements for class parties. This includes bringing in the party supplies such as treats and drinks as well as goody bags.
    • The class parent also plans some type of entertainment for the party such as a quick craft or a simple group game.
    • Depending on the school and the teacher, the class parent may have other responsibilities. Sometimes they might be asked to help chaperone field trips or help with rehearsals for school productions.
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    Become a classroom reader. Young children that have not learned how to read love to have someone read to them and many schools will allow parents to be volunteer readers. The reading might be done in the school library or it could be in one or more specific classrooms.
    • The teachers will usually supply the books in order to be sure that the reading material is age appropriate and adheres to school policy. They also do this in order to tie the stories in with what the children are learning in the classroom. Story times are usually less than an hour and can be as many times per week as the parent and school agree on.

Method 3
Volunteering to Keep Kids Safe

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    Sign up to be a lunchroom or playground monitor. There are schools that allow parents to be lunchroom or playground monitors. They do this because the student to adult ratio can be 30:1 in some classrooms and often the schools will combine the lunch and playground time for all of the children in one or possible two grades. The total can reach 90 or more children per group with several groups rotating from classrooms to the lunchroom and then the playground.
    • Having extra adults keep an eye on the children during lunch and play time helps reduce the possibility of misconduct among the children.
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    Consider monitoring more than one group. This volunteer opportunity usually lasts about an hour unless the parent decides to monitor more than one group of children. Sometimes all that is needed is for the parent to be present, but at other times they may need to remind children of the rules or actually stop children from misbehaving.
    • Usually the discipline of the children is handled by the teacher or other school staff member that is also monitoring the children.
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    Become a crossing guard. If you have early morning or mid-afternoon time available, you can sign up to be a crossing guard. You will be assigned a particular street intersection and will be responsible for helping the children safely cross the streets when they are walking to or from school. The available intersections are usually within a certain distance of the school building.
    • Crossing guards wear reflective safety vests and usually carry some type of sign that is used to stop the traffic so that children can cross safely.
    • The morning shift usually starts about 30-60 minutes before school starts and ends about thirty minutes after the tardy bell rings. The afternoon shift starts about fifteen minutes before the end of the school day and usually ends within an hour.


  • It is very important that you actually follow through on any plans that you make to be involved with the school. The school staff is depending on you to be there. More importantly, your child is depending on you to follow through. Following through shows your child that commitment is important and that even adults need to do what they signed up to complete.

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Categories: Parent Educational Resources