School Volunteers

Are school volunteers important?   

More than ever! It used to be that school volunteers just helped with holiday parties or went on class field trips.  But these days of budget cuts and larger class sizes, school volunteers are needed to do so much more.  So it is worth taking a few minutes to consider some key reasons that school volunteers are valuable and how the role of volunteers has expanded.

What are the benefits of school volunteers?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Volunteering enriches the lives of the school volunteers, the students, and the teachers.  In addition, volunteering benefits the school and the community by focusing resources on local education.  In this time of increasingly limited budgets, identifying and organizing low to no-cost ways to improve school programming holds growing appeal.  In any time of economic stress, ways of creating positive interactions is important too.  Inviting school volunteers into the classroom strengthens the community bond and allows students to feel more connected – whether to their parents, the parents of others, or community members.

And one more thing:    

There’s another reason school volunteers are important. Studies have shown that volunteering stimulates a pleasure or reward centers in the brain.  In these times of economic challenges, volunteering allows the volunteer to feel less stressed too.

How do teachers and parents foster school volunteer opportunities?                                                                                                                                                                                                         Teachers and school volunteers need to have an easy and effective way to make a difference in children’s lives. The key, as in most things, is good organization and communication. And the interaction can be initiated by either the teachers or the volunteers. Teachers need to effectively communicate their needs to parents, and parents need to offer teachers specific ideas for classroom involvement. Teachers can use school volunteers to strengthen programs, and parents can create an enriched environment for their children and their classmates.

Some tips for successful volunteering*:

1.      Encourage volunteering

2.      Identify your volunteers

3.      Communicate a positive attitude

4.      Be considerate

5.      Establish boundaries

6.      Plan to be prepared

7.      Be professional

Use resources like this book that is filled with simple ideas on how to make school volunteering a success for everyone.

                       Keep us posted on what works and Click Here to enter to WIN free prizes

*From School Volunteer Handbook: A Simple Guide for K-6 Teachers and Parents by Yael Calhoun and Elizabeth Q. Finlinson (Lila Press® 2011)

CLICK HERE for sample pages.  CLICK HERE to buy.

A school superintendent in Boise captured the essence of why school volunteers are so valuable: “The Boise School District is special for so many reasons, not the least of which is the tireless dedication and commitment of our District’s valuable school volunteers. The Boise School Volunteer Program works because of the support and caring attitude of 8,000 individuals. Each and every school day, these volunteers graciously share their time, talent and energy to help our children. It is because of their volunteer efforts that the Boise School District performs so well on any measurement of success.”

Dr. Ed Davis, Former Superintendent


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