Being the new kid at a school has its own difficulties. Being a new parent at a school can be rough as well. Personally, I love the idea of sending my child to a school enriched with traditions from its long-standing existence. I was the new kid once when changing schools as a kid and well, it was not the most pleasant experience, to say the least. When choosing a school for my daughter, I researched the reputation and experiences of previous students. I found the perfect fit for our family. Pandemic made it a bit difficult to navigate being a new parent at a traditionally established school. Here are some tips on how to get involved and informed (from my crash and burn, then persevere experience):
1. Get the school calendar and write it all in your planner.
Whether it’s an iPhone calendar or a physical Appointment book. I like having something solid to look at so I wrote all the important dates (according to the school) in my planner. I had zero idea what some of those events were or what to expect but I jotted them all down in the hopes that I wouldn’t miss any event.
2. The Room Mom knows a lot more about activities and will love having some help from additional moms.
Room Moms do a lot! They help keep their fellow moms on top of activities, snack volunteers, and how to be more involved in schools. Keep in mind that the Room Moms obviously are moms too so they may occasionally forget to mention something to you. They may assume you know about all the activities of the school. Send a text once in a while asking if there are any upcoming dates that you should be aware of.
3. Find alumni and ask a lot of questions about traditions the school has that are important.
When sending your kid to a school that’s been around for over 50 years, you will find some proud alumni. Some alumni may be fellow moms in your grade. This is so helpful when you feel like you don’t know why a certain event is so important or why a certain outfit is needed for events at school. They have lived it and are now sharing it with their child. I promise you, they will be honest about yearly events that are special to them even to this day. They will even get you excited about events and traditions.
4. Email Teachers or Administrators about important events.
Nothing makes a parent more stressed out than an email less than a week before an event saying, “Next week this event is happening so we will need XYZ from you for your child.” Teachers are obviously busy. I find emailing one of the administrators of your child’s division in school quarterly, asking what important school events are coming up to plan accordingly. Administrators have to plan things way in advance so they may not always send emails / reminders as advanced as some parents may like (I personally have to plan things months in advance for my career/job), but they do have the dates already figured out. It is not bothering them to get an email from a parent asking for important dates because they want to be involved. I can personally say this because I am the child of a retired school administrator.