I would not consider myself a room mom expert, but I have had the opportunity to be a room mom for at least one of my children for the last five years, and this is what I have learned along the way.
Teachers have one of the hardest and most important jobs in the world. As a room mom, my goal is to partner with my child’s teacher to support the creation of a strong and inclusive classroom environment.
The best first step is to connect with your child’s teacher to understand their goals for the year and how you fit into them. What would they want this partnership to look like? Some teachers prefer you to be a parent liaison while others may want you to focus on the special events and parties. As the year goes on, the needs may change, so check in quarterly to see what is coming up and what they may need.
Introduce yourself to the parents via email in the first few weeks. That email should let them know who you are (Hi, My name is Dominique, and I am Lilliana’s mom.), and what to expect from you throughout the year. I always tell them about group class gifts for the Christmas holiday and end of the year so there are no surprises (P.S. your teacher wants cash). I let them know of any upcoming events and ways they can support the events. Also, be sure to include your contact information.
Plan to get the moms/dads together early for a meet-up. The school year is like a big group project. The stronger your parent group, the better the year will be for everyone. You can do a breakfast after drop-off or have the kids do a park meet-up so that you can begin to put names with faces. This gives everyone opportunities to build connections with each other and increases the investment in volunteering.
Don’t be afraid to suggest things to the teachers. Once the year starts, they have so much they are responsible for and managing day to day, that it is hard to take on additional things. If you have an idea for a themed project during a holiday or a way to incorporate an experiential element into the curriculum, it never hurts to suggest it. This is also a great opportunity to think about how to celebrate the differences in your classroom by bringing in different cultural elements and holidays. But whatever you suggest, you need to be prepared to fully own it from start to end.
Finally, a few random tips:
- SignUpGenius is your friend. Go ahead and set up a free account and play around with it.
- Get to know your PTA. And put all school-wide events on your calendar because you will likely be asked to be a support in making sure these events are a success as well.
- Be prepared for people to drop out last minute. I usually try to keep the morning of and evening before an event clear to account for last-minute needs.
- Pinterest is your friend, too! But, you don’t have to be the super crafty mom to be successful.
Lastly of all, enjoy it!