There has been much written about the feelings of children starting school, but for parents too it can mark a big change in their lives. Having devoted all their time to their offspring’s care, some parents can find handing over to a school an emotional experience. For some it brings back negative memories of their own primary school education, which need to be dealt with in order for that parent to engage positively with their own child’s needs.
Some parents get involved with everything, and become an important support for the school, yet others are hardly seen at school events. The model you choose is obviously up to you and depends on your circumstances, but a middle way can often be best.
Attending parents’ evenings is certainly important, because any problems can be identified and dealt with. It is useful to get involved with some other activities, both in order to feel included in your child’s education, and also to find out how the school really works. Choose the activities that you actually enjoy. School trips to museums can be noisy and exhausting, and some parents might find quietly reading with a small group of children a better way of helping.
If you have a skill like being able to play the piano, or website design, you might volunteer your services. This has the advantage of not just helping the school, but also becoming known to teachers, and being able to ask questions, and maybe see how your child is fitting into school.
A primary school Parent Teachers Association (PTA) is a good vehicle for parents wishing to get involved with their child’s school and meet other parents, and might entail running a stall at the Christmas Fair, or serving refreshments at an evening concert. For parents, friends made during these activities can be an important emotional network.
Most schools won’t allow you to just turn up and help, as it is now a legal requirement to have police checks on all adults with access to children. These checks aren’t difficult, and the school will pay.
Even with high school education it is still possible to be involved with the school, if your stroppy teenager will let you, through attending events such as student theatre productions or concerts, where you get an extra chance to talk to teachers and the parents of other pupils.