Parent Volunteers In Primary Schools: How They Help Supporting The School
Besides taking part in almost all school activities, parent volunteers also benefit from being constantly involved in their children's school life.
Parent volunteers in primary schools are not just there to increase their child's chances of getting into the school. They are also the backbone of the school community. You can see them taking part in almost all school activities, from bake sales to organising sports day.
Apart from that, they also benefit a lot from being parent volunteers, especially in primary school. For instance, they are able to help their kids adjust to primary school life better or better understand the school culture.
We speak to five parent volunteer mums in local primary schools to find out their experience!
Mother of two, Mrs. Halikeri parent volunteer at Ang Mo Kio Primary School started volunteering after her elder daughter joined the school. Being an Indian expat, her main purpose at the time was to be around her daughter during school time and to network with other parents. "I was new to Singapore and I wanted to know my daughter's school environment to make sure she was comfortable, " she reasons.
Mrs. Halikeri, as part of her parent volunteering efforts, is involved in many school activities including the annual sports day event where she helps to facilitate the games. She loves her volunteering stint so much that she is now part of the parent support group's executive committee. "It has become an amazing network of parents who just want to help their children out," she says.
The 41-year-old also added that her volunteering abilities made it easier for her younger son to get into the same primary school. This way, she says, she can monitor both her kids' progress and help them out better. For instance, if her daughter was struggling at a certain subject she could directly contact her daughter's math teacher without the general formality.
Another mother, Mrs. Tan a fairly newer parent volunteer also joined as a parent volunteer for similar reasons as Mrs. Hallikeri. The 38-year old who volunteers at Holy Innocent's Primary School wanted to know more about the school culture to help him academically. "I want to be able to help my son study better so by understanding the school culture I can help him better." But besides academics, she also feels like the school holds a special place for her and her kids. "Parent volunteering makes it feel like I am attending school too. School is like a second family for my kids and me," she adds. So far, in her four months stint, Mrs. Tan has taken part in events like Mid-Autumn Festival, Storytelling Time and Racial Harmony Day.
Mrs. Almeida, a mother of two, also took part in similar events as a former parent volunteer. She began volunteering at Opera Estate Primary School five years ago when her daughter first joined primary school. "Primary school is a big step from pre-school or kindergarten. So as a parent, I wanted to do everything to make sure she transitioned well," she said. According to Mrs. Almeida, Opera Estate's parent volunteering group was very international and had a lot of expat parents. This made events like Racial Harmony Day very exciting. "I remember parents setting up booths from the countries they were from and even wearing their traditional attire. The kids loved it," she adds.
Apart from all the fun being a parent volunteer also gave her a better understanding of the school's system. She recalls having regular meetings with the principal to discuss the school's vision for its students and what they expect from them.
However, the 38-year-old soon stopped volunteering after she started working full time. She reasons that her daughter was already well integrated into the school system and did not need her to be there monitoring her. But having said that, Mrs. Almeida notes the importance of parent volunteers and the network they build especially for new parents. "It gives you an inside view of your child' school and lets you bond with them at the same time," she says.
Mdm Rismin joined parent volunteering mainly because she had free time at hand and also to help out the school. Since joining four years ago, she has actively participated in the school's Sports Day, Cyber Wellness Day, Swimsafer lessons and Children's day. Besides filling up her time, the 35-year-old felt more involved in her child's life and also forged strong friendships with other mommies. However, her favourite moment is when she was presented a certificate of appreciation during the school's annual prize-giving day. "I felt as though my efforts were being validated, my son also felt a sense of pride when he saw me in school," she recalls.
Former preschool teacher, Mrs. Ong takes part regularly in her children's primary school activities. Apart from her usual duty of traffic controlling and recess, she is also seen facilitating ad-hoc activities like Primary 1 Registration, Reading Fest and Aesthetic Night. Through her volunteering stint, she has come to better understand life and expectations in the school. She also adds that by understanding the school's curriculum and teaching styles she was able to better prep her child.
Parent volunteers are indeed the best support a school can get. It works out great for both parents and children! So parents have you considered volunteering in your child's school? Let us know in the comments.