Research shows students, parents, teachers and the school benefit from parents serving as volunteers in the classroom. Discover how everyone benefits from parental involvement. Parents’ Volunteers can bring a lot of difference in school administrations and decision-making at school.
Parents in the Classroom
Parents can be instrumental in the classroom in many ways. Some parent volunteering tasks include assisting with technology, tutoring, co-teaching an area of expertise, and providing career awareness information. The parent volunteer experience mutually benefits the volunteer’s child, other students in the class, the teacher, and the school. These benefits are too significant not to take into account, and many classrooms could improve with additional parent volunteers in their midst.
Benefits for Everyone!
Assume you are an elementary teacher and you notice several other teachers have parent volunteers in the classroom. You ask one of the teachers for suggestions on how to get parent involvement. She suggests that you attend the open house parent-teacher conference at the beginning of the year to hear the opening presentation by the principal, Ms. Value, recruiting parent volunteers for the classrooms. You listen as she identifies all of the parties that stand to gain from parent volunteers in the classroom.
How the Volunteer’s Child Benefits
First, Principal Value discusses the impact on students with parents. She says, ”Research shows that your child can benefit from your active involvement in his or her classroom.” She lists the following on a slide during the presentation:
- Increases student achievement including higher test scores and grades.
- Promotes positive self-esteem.
- Creates positive behavior.
- Impacts attendance.
- Improves graduation success.
One young student in the audience raises her hand and says, ”I am so happy when my mother comes to my class to read a story. It always makes me smile when my friends tell me that she is so helpful.”
A teenage boy adds, ”My dad volunteered to teach a lesson in our high school chemistry class, and his company arranged for a tour. We talked to several employees and learned that we could be the greatest chemists, but if we don’t show up for work we would be fired!”
How Classmates Benefit
Next, Principal Value tells a story about a volunteer who assisted with a reading group made up of students that did not include his daughter. ”That grandfather was a positive role model for a couple of children in the group that lived in homes without a male figure. These children looked forward to working with him every week and their reading levels improved!”
Another benefit she identifies is an appreciation for cultural diversity when parents from other backgrounds work with the class. After these examples, you begin to understand how the parent’s child and the classmates benefit from parental involvement, because of volunteerism:
- Develops role model relationships.
- Exposes students to cultural diversity.
- Creates opportunities for children to communicate with other adults.
- Allows the teacher to work individually with students having difficulties.
- Broadens career awareness and real-world connections to the curriculum from parents employed in different occupations.
Ms. Value gives an example of how a father, an electrician, worked with students to do a hands-on activity (something he does on the job daily!) to teach students in science class. ”The students learn about electricity and are aware of the electrician occupation from the experience,” she says.
Principal Value continues the parent involvement presentation and highlights the benefits to parents. Her next slide identifies how parents can benefit because volunteering:
- Creates a realistic snapshot of the child’s educational experiences.
- Improves communication with child and teacher.
- Provides knowledge on assisting with homework.
- Expands the parent’s knowledge of academic subjects.
- Allows observation of the child in the role as a student and shows interactions with classmates.
- Promotes active involvement in the child’s learning environment.
A parent volunteer stands up and adds, ”I understand my child’s day-to-day activities better since I volunteer one day a week assisting her classmates working in the computer lab.” As you listen, you begin to think about how you can encourage more parents to volunteer in your classroom. It is better for everyone than you realized!
”Research shows 97% of teachers stated they want parent involvement,” Principal Value explains. She further expresses that approximately 40% of parents are willing to volunteer at schools but are unaware of how they could help. Her next slide shows the benefits to teachers. Parent volunteering:
- Gives teachers needed assistance in the classroom.
- Boosts teacher morale.
- Builds mutual respect and parental support for education.
- Allows the teacher to implement more active learning strategies with assistance.
- Provides additional content expertise based on parent experiences and talents.
You decide it is time to invite some of your own children’s parents into your classroom as soon as possible.
Even the school itself can reap many rewards from active parent volunteerism in its classrooms. Some of the benefits of parent involvement are that it:
- Saves the school personnel costs by providing volunteer assistance.
- Provides parental input by identifying continuous improvement strategies.
- Improves perception in the community with more parents communicating positive interactions of school.
- Creates a supportive learning environment.
- Improves school-wide student achievement.
You determine that any parent commitment you can get is a win-win approach for your class, the parents, and the school. Principal Value finishes her presentation and you start right away working to recruit volunteers for your classroom.
Parent involvement in the classroom benefits students, parents, teachers, and the school. These benefits focus on student achievement, behavior, self-esteem, career awareness, communication and support for education, and financial savings for the school. All of these benefits interact together to create a happier and more effective educational environment, so you, as an educator, should seek out opportunities to recruit parent/family volunteers whenever possible.