How Volunteering In My Kid’s School Changed My Prespective
Get-Involved-Blog-Title

Last year I made one of the best decisions I could’ve ever made, I joined the Home and School Association and the School Council at my kids school. And you know what? I wasn’t “voluntold” to do anything and I learned A LOT!

I’m so glad I did it too because the youngest one was having a VERY rough year. He had started a new school, lost a few of his god buddies at his old school and he was the youngest in class. He’s a December baby and so when he started school he was still only 3, so very young to be starting school. Luckily he started before all schools in our board had switched over to full-day kindergarten, he definitely wouldn’t have been to handle full days at school.

I didn’t want to be thrown into any leadership roles right away, I wanted my first year of volunteering to be a learning year. So I volunteered to help out on pizza days and to help with our annual fun fair. It was so much fun and so valuable for getting my face known around the school and to build a very necessary relationship with my sons teachers.

Being there twice a month for pizza day, volunteering for field trips and helping out with the annual fun fair allowed me to meet so many of the teachers and staff at the school and it allowed me to start building a relationship with them. I got to see how these teachers impact the children and how the students impact the teachers. The relationship between teacher and student can oft times be so very special. The teachers are with our children for a large portion of their day and the relationships they build can be life-changing for the students.

My troubled senior kindergarten student made a great friend in my oldest son’s 2nd-grade teacher. I don’t understand it, but I think seeing her every day and her affection for him, was a great help for him making it through the school year.

Of course, the relationship I was able to build with his teachers throughout the year was a big bonus as well. I felt comfortable checking in on him and asking his teacher how he was doing if it was particularly rough morning.

I also learned a lot about how the schools work and the role of parent groups in the schools. I always thought School Council and Home & School were just different names for the same group. In fact, they are two different entities that handle different aspects of parent involvement.

School Council

Each school in Ontario is required to have a School Council; the purpose of School Councils across Ontario is to improve student achievement and enhance the accountability of the education system to parents.

Home & School Association

The role of Home & School at all levels is to work together, connecting the Home & School and community in matters relating to the education and welfare of children. (basically the fun and fundraising 😉 )

In some schools, these two groups operate as one entity and in other schools (like mine), they have two separate groups.

Picture of my volunteer award for 2015Either way, I really think it’s a great way to connect with your school and find out what’s going on. It also gives you a chance to see how things are working and if you think maybe the school equipment needs to be replaced then you have a forum to air your grievances and see if it’s even possible to make your request a reality. The more parents who get involved the better, that way when things need to happen or be fundraised for it’s always on the shoulders of a concerned parents.

All meetings are open meetings, meaning you don’t have to be a member to attend, so if you’ve wondered about the inner workings of your school and why other schools have “free” field trips while yours doesn’t, attending a meeting just might open your eyes to why.

Have you joined any parent groups? Or do you plan on? What was your experience?

 

  • Sarah T Oelke-Thomson

    I think everyone should come check out at least one parent meeting so they can see for themselves what goes on there. An amazing way to connect with staff and parents. A great opportunity to have your voice heard and to learn about things happening in your child’s scholastic day.

    • Exactly! Even if you can only simply attend a few meetings a year, it really does give you a much better sense of what is happening in the school and often the board. Why we do fundraisers and so forth.

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