As we get ready for another week of vacation, I wanted to offer a thank you…from your children. They love McAuliffe and their friends and their time here learning and playing and growing. But I want to thank you for giving them a gift that few parents bestow on their children to this degree. Thank you for your participation in their school experience.
Parent participation in school is flat out hard. In fact, participating in a parent participation program like ours is one of the most challenging roads a parent can choose for their child’s educational experience. It is demanding on your time, energy, mental wherewithal, and patience. It means being creative with your work schedule so that you can be on campus every week.
Parent participation means communicating with small groups of 2-3 and larger groups up to 32 little…or not so little… people on a regular basis; which is no easy task for those of us who spent the majority of their adult lives working with…well…adults.
Parent participation also means giving up at least one evening a month so that you can join fellow parents for a class meeting. Sure…there’s good food, engaging conversation, wonderful people, great information on your child both developmentally and academically, and a chance to develop lifelong friendships, but it also means one night a month away from home.
So if it’s such hard work, why on earth do it?
Part of the learning and growing experience for everyone:
Your presence in the class enriches the lives of every child in that room. Participation doesn’t mean solely working with your child. We want to give each child as much opportunity to be self-reliant and to grow and explore as possible. Instead it means that you are part of the learning experience for many children and brighten everyone’s experience through your participation.
Get to know your child better:
Regular parent participation means knowing what your child and his/her classmates are learning in school because you are there in the classroom. You will see your child interact with others, get to know your child’s friends in a different setting. Not only will you read about your child in our narrative progress reports, regular participation gives you a chance to get feedback from the faculty and staff in real time.
Positive Model for Children:
We realize that social interactions don’t happen in a vacuum. Our students are highly curious and observant. Your active participation provides positive models for our students throughout the day. Students will learn about interacting with one another, how to handle surprises, successes, and failures, from us. One of the beautiful things about community is that we truly learn from one another. So yes… you will also find that you learn from our students.
Those monthly parent meetings are a sacrifice, but more importantly they are an opportunity for you to connect with other parents, discuss your child’s social, emotional, and academic development, and to share what you and the other parents have observed in class, learn what to expect in the classroom in the month ahead, and ask questions. Apart from your circle of friends, this is a wonderful opportunity to draw on vast resources to support your parenting and your children.
Community and Lifelong friendships:
As you spend time on campus, don’t be surprised that you develop lifelong friendships with other parents and families.
Dedicated time for your child:
Ultimately, your active participation at McAuliffe is a gift you give to your child that will always be there for them. For 6-9 years you are committing time and energy and love to your child through your presence and participation on campus.
We don’t always work with our kids, but your child knows that you are there. We’ve all heard the adage that quality time is important for child development. Choosing the path of parent participation means that you are dedicating time for your child every week, month, and year. While everyone benefits from your presence and participation in our program, the biggest winner is your child and your family. So thank you from the faculty, staff, and your children!
For those of us in the thick of things here at McAuliffe, you know the direct benefits parent participation carries. We also know that, at times, it can be exhausting. Enjoy this break. Take time for yourself and your family. Spend time with friends and have a wonderful vacation.
We look forward to seeing you back on the 24th.