Simple Steps to Get Involved at your Child’s School

Simple Steps To Get Involved JaxMomsBlog It’s that time of year again. School is back in the swing of things, and the volunteer sign ups and Room Mom nominations are starting to circulate. While you may not want to assume the seemingly daunting task of Room Mom, there are plenty of other ways you can get involved at your child’s school.

Sign up for the Behind the Scenes Shift

First, let me tell you that I love volunteering in my children’s classes. As a former teacher, I love to see what’s going on in the classroom. I love being the mom who gets to bring in cupcakes at Halloween, put together snowman crafts at Christmas and fills the water balloons at the end of the year party. But, if you’re a working mom or if you have younger children at home you can’t always be front and center at every class party and school event. That doesn’t mean you can’t volunteer to help out in your child’s class. At the beginning of the year, I always let our teachers know that I’d be happy to tackle any projects I can complete in the evenings at home. In past years, I’ve assembled a class science fair project, cut out game pieces and sorted them into plastic bags, stuffed folders with papers, washed recently tie-dyed shirts, and the list goes on. While these tasks aren’t nearly as fun as bringing in those Halloween cupcakes, they were important to my child’s teacher and allowed them the time to concentrate on more important classroom tasks. The key here is to be sure to offer your services at the beginning of the year because I don’t know any teacher who will just start asking parents to help out with these types of chores.

Think Outside the {Crayon} Box

It’s a sad fact that school budgets are stretched ridiculously thin. Many teachers pay for supplies throughout the year out of their own personal bank accounts. Donating supplies can be a big help to your child’s teacher. I like to donate some extra school supplies throughout the year, but there are other items that teachers can use in their classroom that you may not have thought about. Consider donating – cleaning wipes, hand soap, tissues, hand sanitizer, paper bowls/plates, Ziploc bags, napkins/paper towels, prizes for the treasure box, colored copy paper, arts & craft supplies, books, snacks, dry erase markers, educational games & flashcards. Ask your child’s teacher if they have a wish list of items they could use that is separate from the required supply list that they hand out. You don’t need to buy everything on it, but even one or two items can really help your teacher out.

Get Dad Involved

Listen to me very carefully moms… you don’t have to do it all. Next time the school is looking for a volunteer, don’t automatically jump to sign up yourself. Dads make great volunteers, and their involvement is just as important to a child’s self-esteem and development as a mom’s involvement. But why stop with dad? Why not get the grandparents involved as well? If your schedule doesn’t allow for you to attend that field trip to the zoo, see if Grandma wants to go. For Duval County schools, anyone who is going to volunteer in the classroom, or attend a field trip MUST fill out an online background check form. Make sure you have all potential family members you may recruit for volunteering do this at the beginning of the year. You can CLICK HERE to fill out the form. Get Dad Involved

Join the PTA

I’m not going to lie to you. I spent my son’s first year in public school avoiding the PTA like the plague, and that wasn’t easy since the president’s daughter was in his Kindergarten class. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to get involved, but the truth is that the PTA scared the crap out of me. I mean, those moms and dads do a ton of work around the school. I was convinced that if I actually showed some interest in volunteering with the PTA, I would be immediately asked to head my own committee and be put in charge of some large event. But after a while, I realized that if I could give just a little time to PTA sponsored events, I could play a small part in some much larger (and amazing) programs. Signing up for just one shift of the book fair, or attending one Saturday campus clean-up doesn’t automatically make you PTA Vice President. It turns out you have to actually run for that office; they can’t just assign it to you. So check out a PTA meeting, or if you’re a scaredy-cat like me, subscribe to their newsletter, like their Facebook page, and read the flyers that come home from school. The most important part of getting involved is choosing something that makes you comfortable, and that can benefit your child’s classroom or school. However small and insignificant you may think your contribution will be, there are plenty of teachers who will appreciate anything you can do. And who knows, you just may decide that you’re the right person for Room Mom or PTA President.

Shannon Beckham
Shannon is a former Special Education Teacher turned SAHM to two great kids, Cole and Kiley. Originally from Miami, Shannon met her husband while they were both attending the University of Florida (Go Gators). They decided to put down roots in Jacksonville Beach, and are very much enjoying the laid back salt life.


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