What makes parents become active in their children’s schools?

By Kate McGilly

I had breakfast the other morning at a Kiwanis-sponsored Pancake Breakfast in Maplewood, and sat with my daughter’s former preschool teacher who also happens to be my son’s former Parents as Teachers parent educator. (Yes, even those of us employed at Parents as Teachers National Center enroll in our local programs and have parent educators!)

We got to talking about the issue of parent involvement in the schools. JoAnn mentioned the Maplewood Richmond Heights Early Childhood Center’s Parent Advisory Council. She once asked the Advisory Council members how many had participated in Parents as Teachers. The vast majority had.

I was reminded yet again of the impact Parents as Teachers has on parents, not only while they are in the program, but for many years afterward.

Skeptics might argue that the parents who choose to participate in Parents as Teachers are the same kinds of parents who would volunteer to serve on a Parent Advisory Council, but I don’t totally buy that. Parents as Teachers helps all parents understand the importance of being involved and staying involved in their children’s education. When that extends to parents becoming active on things like PTOs, advisory councils and school boards, it’s a win-win for kids, parents, schools, and ultimately the communities they live in.

Are you active in your children’s schools? How?