Serving as a room parent is a wonderful way to contribute to your child’s classroom, as well as get to know other parents and your child’s classmates. Every teacher works with room parents differently so please communicate with your child’s teacher about how room parents can be helpful.
Room parents assist with classroom parties (such as Halloween, Winter Break, Valentine’s Day and possibly other celebrations). In the younger grades, room parents typically plan the activities, bring the supplies, and run the party. In older grades, it varies greatly by teacher whether room parents plan the parties or are asked for specific help. Regardless of grade level, some teachers have very specific requests regarding parties and others leave it up to the room parents. Make sure to find out if any students in the class have allergies or other dietary restrictions.
Room parents also coordinate snacks for Iowa Assessment Week for 3rd-6th graders. During Teacher Appreciation Week, room parents typically help with flower day by checking to make sure teachers have enough vases, bringing extra flowers for children who forget, and helping the teacher arrange the flowers into vases. At the end-of-year picnic, room parents usually buy and deliver the popsicles.
After talking to the teacher about the needs for the year, sometimes parents find it helpful to have one parent take the lead for each event. Traditionally room parents have called other parents to fill snack/treat needs, but in the past year some room parents have created a sign-up genius (www.signupgenius.com) and asked the teacher to email it to all parents.
If room parents are planning the parties, below are some suggestions to help you get started:
- Contact the other room parents in your child’s classroom and plan a meeting to organize parties for the year. It is helpful to assign one parent to serve as the coordinator for each party. There are usually 3 parties per school year: Halloween, Winter Break, and Valentine’s Day.
- Prior to your first meeting one parent should check with the classroom teacher regarding his/her expectations for parties (food, beverages, games, etc.) and if there are any students with special dietary restrictions.
- At your meeting decide how to structure the parties. The parties are generally held the last 45 minutes to 1 hour of the school day. For each party, parents can be assigned to organize the activities and coordinate snacks/beverages/paper supplies. The room parents can be responsible for items needed or can decide to call or create a sign-up for other parents in the class for contributions.
- At the Halloween Party there will be a costume parade of the K-2nd classes through out the school, therefore the time for partying in the classroom will be shortened somewhat.
- In recent years, 1st and 2nd grades have held a winter read-in instead of a winter party and room parents have only provided snacks.
Best wishes for a wonderful year!