School has been in session for more than a month now in Nashville, though I have many friends whose children just started! Already, we have received many communications from our children's elementary school regarding field trips, fundraisers and classroom support that is needed. While parents tend to be more eager at the beginning of the school year, supporting your child's school is something that you can – and should – do year-round.
I'm excited to partner with Tom's of Maine today to share 10 ways you can support your child's school. Tom's of Maine supports schools through their Green Your School Fund, which was created to support classroom projects that teach kids to take care of the environment and that their actions make a difference on the planet. Learn more about the program and help a classroom win $25,000 here.
Here are 10 easy ways to support your child's school, teachers and classroom:
1.Communicate with your child's teacher: As soon as you meet your child’s teachers, ask them about their preferred method of communication—Is it email? It is a special school-sanctioned online forum? Do they text? Every teacher is unique in how they communicate with their students’s parents. Once you know that, stay in touch. Don’t be a pest. But make sure they know you’re interested, engaged, and willing to help when needed!
2. Volunteer in your child's classroom: All of us know how important parental involvement is to our child’s success in school, but sometimes the success of a teacher and/or classroom is also dependent on parents being involved. Stay in communication with your kids’s teachers. Let them know that you’re available to help them out.
Though I work full-time outside the home, I still make it a priority to find time to be in my children's classrooms. This week I am reading to Adeline's class before I go to work. Teachers are typically eager for help in the classroom. In fact, I know some parents have a set time each week that they volunteer in their child’s classrooms. No matter if it’s sporadic or a regular gig, your presence is invaluable to the success of your child's school.
3. Volunteer for special events: If your schedule doesn’t permit you to volunteer during regular school hours, why not help organize a fundraiser or chaperone a school field trip or volunteer to run dunking booth at the school’s annual fair? Any amount of time that you can use to invest in your school is helpful and appreciated.
4. Bring in extra supplies: Every year, I see teacher friends spending their own money to keep their classrooms filled up with basic supplies. School budgets vary by location, but even teachers at well-funded schools have wish lists.
Ask your child’s teachers if they have a supply “Wish List” or let them know that you’re willing to help if they ever have a need for art supplies or learning tools that aren’t funded by their classroom’s budget. It's important to ask because a teacher might need something that you would never think of. For instance, Adeline's teacher this year requested Thieves from Young Living Essential Oils because it is so effective in supporting immune health, which is definitely needed in schools where there are lots of germs. 🙂 Also, don't forget to check-in throughout the school year.
5. Share special skills: Are you an artist? A craft expert? Did you once work as a reading specialist? Many of us have talents and skills that could be considered quite useful in helping your child’s classroom thrive. Teachers often love to know about a parents’s gifts or interests because it helps them know how to utilize a parents’s volunteer hours best. For instance, my husband is a photographer. Both Elias’s Kindergarten and first grade teachers utilized his talents.
6. Help outside the classroom: Teachers spend a lot of time outside of their regular teaching hours working on school work and projects. Whether it’s cutting out shapes or helping preassemble bags of art supplies for a project, let your teachers know if you’re willing to help them with busy work during your evening hours.
For instance, for Elias's Thanksgiving program, I brought home the t-shirts that the kids decorated and cut all the fringe for the special style the teachers had designed. I'm also always sure to let my children's teachers know that I have a Cricut because that tool can save a lot of time cutting – ha! Every little bit makes a difference.
7. Offer financial support: If you’re unable to donate time, offering your children’s teachers financial donations to help alleviate their need to fund projects, field trips, and supplies from their own pocketbooks. If you have the resources, also consider sending extra money to cover costs for field trips for other families who may struggle to make ends meet.
8. Participate in community efforts & special fundraising opportunities: Maybe a local pizzeria donates proceeds one Tuesday a month or a grocery store ties their loyalty program to cash back for schools. Or maybe there's a national program like Tom's of Maine's Green Your School Fund that contribute to classrooms that you can participate in. Pay attention for these opportunities and support them. These dollars add up and make a big difference in your child's school.
9. Love on the teachers and staff: Be sure that teachers and school staff know they are appreciated. Write them cards. Love on them with small gifts. Let them know you’re grateful for the influence they have on your kids. (Check out this list of 5 simple ways to show teacher appreciation.)
This is also an important lesson for your children. Elias's teacher recently celebrated her birthday and he was eager to bring in a gift for her. He thoughtfully spent time writing and drawing on a special card for her. Don't miss these opportunities to teach your children to show gratitude and love.
10. Support special programs: Schools typically have special programs unique to them. For instance, our children's elementary school has a garden that often needs volunteer support. These special programs could benefit from your help!
What other ideas do you have supporting your child's school and teachers?
This post was inspired by Mom Creative partner Tom’s of Maine, who is teaming up with Donorschoose.org for the Green Your School Fund to bring $1M to classrooms across the country, so students can understand at an early age the impact they can have on the planet. To help teachers to inspire their students to give back to their communities and the planet, Tom’s is matching any donation made to environmental education projects submitted to DonorsChoose.org, up to $2,000.
More than 250 creative projects from 40 states were submitted to date, and from these submissions, a panel of judges chose the ten most creative ideas as finalists in a separate part of the campaign called the Green Your School Fund Innovation Challenge.
Click here to vote for the most creative of these 10 projects! The project that receives the most votes will receive $25,000 in classroom funding.
Thank you to Tom's of Maine for sponsoring this post. All ideas for supporting schools my own.