How to get involved at your child's school

May 16, 2014 at 4:08 a.m. ET

The key to the success of children, many times, is the participation of parents in their education.

family meeting at school

Photo credit: asiseeit/iStock/360/Getty Images

With most people relying on social media these days to connect with others, it can be difficult for parents to feel a sense of involvement at their children’s school. As a mental health professional who works in a preschool, I am always trying to get parents to participate in activities and workshops. When parents are actively involved in the educational activities of their children, kids tend to be more successful in school.

An efficient way to ensure there is an ongoing communication with your children’s school would be to appoint a parent coordinator. Also, make sure to ask the principal or director who is responsible for parent involvement at the school. Having worked closely within the school community, the needs of students and their families can be met by building a relationship with parents.

Parents are a child’s first teacher, but then come their formal teachers at school, for 18-plus years. Both parents and school professionals should develop a drive to ensure continuity between school and home practices.

What schools can do:

  • Create a welcoming school environment for parents.
  • Conduct outreach on a weekly basis.
  • Increase parent involvement in the school by working closely with the parents.
  • Coordinate monthly parent meetings.
  • Develop programs for parents to be involved in with their children.

What parents can do:

  • Work to develop and maintain a positive school environment.
  • Buy a black-and-white notebook to place in your child’s backpack and write in it at least once a week.
  • Get in touch with different professionals at your child’s school to coordinate monthly meetings.
  • Host events at the school or somewhere in your community.
  • Get involved with a community organization and act as a liaison to coordinate events.
  • Contact other parents.
  • Attend parent-teacher conferences.
  • Help your child to plan an event with you.
  • Help teach your children the importance of school-wide expectations at home, at school and in the community.
  • Volunteer for school activities.
  • Celebrate and reward successes of your children and other children.

Remember, your home and your child’s school are the two places they spend the majority of their time. There are important correspondences between these two environments, so make sure to find a way to embrace the connection. The key to the success of children, many times, is the participation of parents in their education.