Encouraging and nurturing parental involvement in the classroom can be a challenging subject. Time constraints and obligations often leave parents feeling pulled in too many different directions. While they may genuinely want to help in the classroom, sometimes it is just not possible to be present during normal school hours.
For teachers, knowing how to approach parents and families and nurture their desire to be involved is critical to a successful year of parent involvement. Not every method works for every child or every family, so it is important to be willing to try something new at any point in the school year. Not only will the right approach help parents feel more involved, but it will also give you, as the teacher, the support you need.
How to Increase Parental Involvement and Volunteering
Do not wait until a few weeks have gone by to ask parents for their email addresses – ask during your very first contact with them. If your school has a Meet the Teacher Night before the first day, ask then. The papers that you send home on that first day? Include a request for an email address in them. Many parents do not have time for phone calls or to check every single piece of paper that comes home during the school year, but chances are that most of them are checking their email at least once a day. How you use email is up to you, but you can use it for a weekly class update, notifications of upcoming events, general communication, and to communicate classroom needs for volunteers and/or supplies.