Getting Dads Involved in School
sick of moms always having to carry the load in parental involvement in
schools. Most of us are working full-time! Why are we still expected to do
everything to support the school? What can parent groups and schools do to get
more fathers involved?
Well, for one thing: quit using term "Room Mother." If you're
serious about making schools father-friendly, go with "Classroom Volunteer" or
"Room Parent." And hold your parent group meetings in the evening. Have a website
or send email. And get your own spouses involved; there's safety in numbers.
It's very important for children to have
their fathers involved in their schools. Clearly, the research shows
that when both the mother and the father are involved with the child's school,
that child is more likely to get A's, be involved in extracurricular
activities, and feel happier about school in general.
most part, the moms are already involved in everything from shelving library
books once a month, to chairing fund-raisers, to putting on holiday parties, to
chaperoning field trips. Women still outnumber men in every category of school
involvement, from attending parent-teacher conferences to staffing a booth at
Open House. A National Household Education Survey found that
58 percent of mothers in two-parent families were highly involved, compared to
28 percent of fathers.
there has been some encouraging movement for men, especially after a divorce,
when children need both parents even more. So that's a trend worth fostering:
getting divorced dads and single dads in there to show support for their kids,
along with all the dads in general.
how? Here are some ideas:
Set up a sub-group of your parent-teacher organization that's a "Dads'
Club." Let the dads plan their activities their own special way, with help and
support from the main organization.
Plan a "Doughnuts with Dad" morning before school in the gym, when kids
enjoy free doughnuts, juice and coffee with their fathers, and the dads read
aloud to their kids for a few minutes before the kids dash off to school and
the dads dash off to work.
Instead of a bake sale, put the dads in charge of a pancake feed or a big
pasta bar; the bigger the pots in the kitchen, the better the dads like it!
Put dads in charge of soliciting the prizes for your fund-raising
auction; many of them have business contacts that go untapped, while women's
contacts are often tapped out.
Solicit information about skills, hobbies and interests from both parents
and develop a skills bank that could be turned in to another sub-club of your
parents' organization. For instance, if two men say they want to get involved
and both play chess, you could suggest that they set up an after-school chess
club that meets once a week, or even in the evenings. Intramural sports are
great opportunities for dads, as are school clean-ups, tree plantings, or Saturday
mornings spent grooming school grounds. Older pupils would enjoy an investment
club or auto repair club.
Homework: Collect more great ideas about
school parents' groups on www.ptotoday.com