Involving Parents in the School: Tips for School Councils

Break Down Barriers

Many parents would welcome the opportunity to engage in the school community, but face genuine barriers to involvement. These tips will help you encourage parent involvement by addressing issues such as child care, language, transportation and accessibility to school events and programs.

Tip #8: The Childcare Program

Sometimes parents are unable to attend meetings because they do not have access to child care or cannot afford the cost of a babysitter. Here are some suggestions for activities that would help parents participate more easily in school events.

  • Consider hiring high school students to run a babysitting service for parents using a small portion of Council budget.
  • Alternatively, consider students who may wish to participate in babysitting services as a means of fulfilling the 40 hours of community involvement required for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma.
  • Focus on low-risk activities – such as math help, reading help, storytelling and board games – to minimize the possibility of injury.
  • Take care that all board policies and procedures are being followed.

Tip #9: The Translation Service

For parents who speak a first language other than English, consider offering translation services for Council meetings and other events. Parents will also appreciate receiving selected school documents, such as newsletters or important information notices, in a variety of languages. Members of the school community, and the larger community, are often pleased to provide language support to new Canadian families.

Tip #10: The Off-Site / Off-Hours Program

Where parents have problems with transportation, or with attending regularly scheduled events – due, for example, to shift work – consider holding supplementary events or meetings in the community and/or during off hours. The local library is often an ideal place to hold an information event, and can serve to raise the public visibility of the school at the same time.

Tip #11: Parents Reaching Out

Consider making application for a Parents Reaching Out (PRO) grant. PRO grants support school-based initiatives that help identify barriers to parent engagement and find local solutions to help more parents get involved.

← Put Out the Welcome Mat