We know that parent involvement in children’s education is important for school success throughout their school years. Your involvement helps them develop a positive outlook on school and further supports and strengthens their learning. The earlier you can get involved in your child’s schooling, the better. One of the most fun times to get involved is during their preschool years! There are lots of fun projects in preschool and younger kids love showing off their parents! Check out these ideas for getting involved in your child’s preschool:
Volunteer in the classroom. There are so many fun ways to volunteer in preschool classrooms and kids are so excited to share their parents with their friends and teachers! Here are some ideas for volunteering:
- Read a story to the class. You could bring in one of your favorite books to read or ask the teacher if there’s a theme and read a related book. You could even pick out a craft or activity for the class that is related to the book you read.
- Share a special skill. Maybe you play an instrument and could play some songs for the class. Maybe you speak a different language and could share some phrases. Perhaps you’ve created something recently you could share?
- Share something about your family’s culture. For example, you could share something about the language you speak, holidays you celebrate, or family traditions. Food is also a great way to teach others about family culture! Bring in a special treat/meal or make a special treat/meal with the class.
- Lead an activity. You could lead an activity as a large group or during the classroom’s choice-time where small groups of kids rotate through activities. You could come up with some ideas you might be interested in and talk to your child’s teacher. In my preschool parents have lead craft activities, helped kids plant something they could take home, made playdoh with kids, and helped kids put on a puppet show.
Volunteer outside of the classroom. Unfortunately, due to COVID, many schools are not taking in-person volunteers right now. Until we can return to volunteering in the classroom, here are some ideas for ways you can help in your child’s classroom from home:
- Prepare activities. Preschool teachers often have lots of activities to prepare and prepping materials from home could be a big help! Check with your child’s teacher and see if they have anything you could help cut out, collate/organize, etc.
- Send in an activity. You could come up with some ideas for an activity kids could do in class, maybe you know of a fun craft or sensory project (i.e. slime, moon sand, playdoh). Talk to your child’s teacher about some ideas that would be doable for them and send in the materials.
- Donate materials.
- Used toys like Legos, blocks, anything for building, books, puzzles, art supplies, etc. Check with your child’s teacher and see if they need what you have to donate.
- Preschools often need extra kids clothing in case kids have accidents at school or get messy. Check with your child’s school and see if they could use any clothes you don’t need.
- Pre-school teachers often use household items and materials we would typically throw away for art projects. Things like paper towel and toilet paper rolls, food containers, plastic bottles, cardboard, boxes, lids, etc. Ask your child’s teacher if they need any help collecting materials for art projects.
Attend open houses, school events, and conferences. Parent-teacher conferences, open house events, and other school events are a great way to get to know your child’s teacher, peers, and school. These are predictable opportunities to find out what your child is learning and doing at school and your child will be excited to share their school with you! Due to COVID there might not be opportunity to attend in-person conferences and events right now. Many schools are offering Zoom conferences and events which are still a great way to interact with your child’s school and staff.
Stay updated on information. Many preschools have weekly or monthly newsletters they send home in kids’ backpacks or via email, and/or post on the school website or other school apps (i.e. See-Saw, Remind). The newsletter often has important dates and talks about what the kids are working on in class. Check in with your child’s teacher about how she shares information and the best ways to communicate.
Talk to your child about school and the work they bring home. Making checking-in a routine when they’re younger will help this carry over into their future school years. Kids often aren’t the most talkative when we ask about school but asking specific questions or bringing up specific details can go a long way! Check their backpacks and use their work or art projects as conversation starters about what they did at school. Ask them to tell you about what they made, what materials they used, or how they made it. This gives you information about what your child is working on at school, where your child is at with certain skills, and what their interests are.
There are lots of different ways to be involved and not everything works for everyone. Whatever you do to get involved, from helping with class projects to talking to your child about their day, you’re modeling how much you value school and your child’s learning!
Text: © Kids In Transition to School 2021
Image: © Paulus Rusyanto | Dreamstime.com