from the parent’s perspective: a class visit

For my son’s birthday, he decided he wanted to share a story with his classmates. We purchased a copy of Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears for his classroom. By email I asked Ms. Barnick if I could bring the book to school and read it to the class. Her positive response included several exclamation marks.

So that is how my three-year-old and I ended up in my son’s kindergarten class last Wednesday. My son was happy to see us. So was the boy we see every morning at the bus stop.

Ms. Barnick introduced the younger one as “little brother,” but he corrected her: “I’m big!” He sat among the kindergarteners and got a taste of what it’s like to be in school. I was invited to sit in the rocking chair, a privilege that’s typically reserved for the teacher, my son informed me.

As I read, several children commented on the pictures and the story line. They helped make the animal noises. They laughed in the right places.

After the book, we stuck around to hear the kindergarteners sing two songs with actions. My three-year-old left disappointed. “We didn’t have cake.” I explained that the school didn’t allow food for birthdays. Then he protested because his older brother was not coming home with us. But the school day isn’t done, I told him.

I left on a more positive note. Back in the day, when I worked at our state’s Department of Education, we heard a fair amount about parent involvement. All the NCLB-inspired talk about parental involvement plans seemed like a really top-down approach. Now, as I’m trying to figure out how to be involved at school, the topic has shifted from the theoretical to the concrete. Where can I be of help? The PTO seems a little bit like a clique, and I suspect I’m not cool enough to fit in there. But in my son’s classroom I’m welcome. That’s a really good foundation for parental involvement.

4 thoughts on “from the parent’s perspective: a class visit

  1. I am sure you will always be welcome in your son’s classrooms Anita. Teachers appreciate parents who are involved in their child’s education. I would like to hear that story sometime.

    Joyce Gokey

  2. Don’t knock the PTO until you give it a try — it’s so disappointing that people believe that stereotype before they actually go to a meeting or activity. I still help at the middle school PTO because that seems to be the age when parents “want a break” from school stuff, but really it’s the best age to keep being involved. Middle school is a tough time.

    Back to Kinder —- the classroom is a great place to start. The time you give to come and read is probably precious to the teacher to get some things done. I would also check to see if they have a workroom where you could help with packets or other light prepping duties — Tyler’s school had a parent work room, with a toddler play area so parents could spend time helping and bring their younger ones along too.

    • You’re right. I plan to hang in there with the PTO because our goal is to make a positive contribution to the school. And I agree that it’s just as important at the middle school level.

      You have identified my biggest challenge to volunteering: child care for our preschooler. I’m looking for other parents that might be interested in a babysitting co-op or something like that to make it possible for me to do more.

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