Now that our kids are back in school and COVID mandates are lifted, it’s finally time for parents to be allowed back into their student's classroom! Whether you are just showing up to help with copies, assisting with an event or attending weekly to help with learning activities, volunteering is the key to bridging the gap between you, your teacher and your student. It unlocks so many benefits!
1. The classroom provides a unique experience for you and your child to bond. Your child might view home and school as two very separate environments. Being a part of a specific lesson or activity creates a shared experience between you and your child. Seeing the structure of the classroom, firsthand, allows you to better understand a day-in-the-life-at-school for your child.
2. Volunteering gives your teacher the ability to do more and to offer more to the students. For example, in a 3rd grade classroom she could have students who don't know how to read and students who read at an 8th grade level. Having a parent volunteer will allow her to serve these two groups more effectively. Additionally, underfunded schools can utilize parent volunteers to provide art, music and PE activities.
3. Volunteering allows you to see your child in an educational setting where behavior can often be very different than at home. Seeing how they interact with their peers, participate in class discussions, and have “ahhh-ha” moments with a specific math or reading skill is something that will strengthen your relationship with your child.
4. Volunteering sends your school's staff and child a very clear message that you value education. Valuing not only the general idea of education, but the education that’s taking place in this moment and time in your child’s classroom. You will not only gain a better understanding of the specific skills your child is learning, but your teacher will know you will genuinely hold staff to the fire to ensure best results.
5. Being present in your child’s classroom lets you see the curriculum that is being used and the culture of the class; two extremely important components in your child’s education. When you get into the classroom, you get full access to materials, reading passages, science lessons and "off-the-cuff" discussion. This will allow you to understand and address anything you feel out of alignment with your values or expectations.
6. Research shows children perform better academically when their parents volunteer in school. “Parental effort is consistently associated with higher levels of achievement, and the magnitude of the effect of parental effort is substantial. We found that schools would need to increase per-pupil spending by more than $1,000 in order to achieve the same results that are gained with parental involvement.” (See link for source).
Want to get in the classroom? Let your student's teacher know you would like to come and help. Next, contact your school to set up a time to fill out the required WCSD volunteer forms (ID is required). Depending on the type of volunteering, you may also be required to get fingerprinted at the district office.