So your child’s class if going to the museum in a month’s time and the teacher has put the call out for parent volunteers.
For some parents this brings on instant feelings of anxiety and dread to the point where they avoid eye contact with the teacher when doing school drop offs. For others the excitement of being able to take a day off and hang out with their kids instead of being at work is hard to resist.
One thing to always remember is kids LOVE it when their parents come and spend some time in their world at school. Both of my girls are so excited on the days I volunteer at school and there are always smiles the whole time I am in class.
Regular volunteering is not something which a lot of parents can do due to other commitments. School excursions are a fantastic way as a one off to spend some time in your child’s world which they love. It is also a great way to get to know their teacher and some of their school friend’s a bit better which is always helpful as a parent.
If you are thinking of volunteering here’s a few tips and things to think about before taking on the school excursion volunteering challenge.
Firstly, let the teacher know you’re available to help if they need it. Some schools have the fortune of having too many parent volunteers, but that means they can’t take everyone who wants to go. If you let them know you’re available then they will contact you if you’re needed. Don’t put them on the spot by asking them if you can go, and don’t be too excited, you might just freak them out lol!
What to take with you
Remember be an example to the kids by what you wear:
- Broad brimmed hat – as per school expectations of all kids.
- Sunscreen – a good idea whenever you’re going to be outdoors.
- Antiseptic hand gel – lots of kids means lots of germs, so wash your hands and don’t touch your face.
- Water – Don’t pass out by getting dehydrated.
- Food – Eat properly, you’ll need the energy. Don’t take too much chocolate…..actually no chocolate I was only kidding.
- Comfortable clothes and shoes – it’s not a fashion parade, be prepared for lots of walking, waiting and sitting on the bus.
- Comfortable bag to carry if you’re walking long distances, and for all your supplies.
- Spare pens/pencils – Teachers will have these for their students, but you could have some spares for those kids in your group who have lost theirs, there’s always one.
- Name tag/id: So people know who you are. First name and school are usually a good idea. The school might give you a visitor or volunteer badge. Have one just in case.
- Pack an extra shirt or wipes or something to clean up small messes, you never know what a kid might spill on you or themselves during the day.
Do’s and Dont’s
- Make contact with teacher a week out from the actual day: The teacher running the excursion should have given you all the information beforehand, but just in case they haven’t make contact a week before to confirm what time you need to be there.
- Don’t take photos of any kids except for your own, especially on your smartphone. Check the schools rules and regs about all of that. Some kids aren’t allowed to be photographed at all. Let the teachers from the school take photo’s. You might get away with a selfie of you and your child, but still let the teachers know so they know you’re doing the right thing.
- Get at least one of the teacher’s phone numbers in case of emergency, and have the schools number on hand.
- Be on your best behaviour – Remember it’s not about you, but about all of the kids having a great time.
- Be there to serve: Ask the teachers what they need you to do, be there to help. Enjoy spending time with your own child and their friends but be helpful to the teachers who are running the show.
- Keep your smartphone tucked away. Imagine if one of the teachers sat there the whole time with their phone checking Facebook? Not a good look.
- Most of all though…have fun and smile!
Other things to think about
- Behaviour and reprimanding children: Best idea – Remind them of the school rules and excursion rules (usually very similar). If the behaviour continues alert the teacher asap and let them deal with it.
- Does your school need you to have a Bluecard, or its equivalent for states other than Queensland?