Why is parent participation so important and why should you work to increase it at your school or daycare?
Here are the three most important reasons why:
- Higher Academic Success: Studies show that parent participation leads to higher levels of academic success. You want your daycare kids to become all they can be, right? Then they need their parents to participate in their education.
- Improved Child Behavior: Parent participation has also been linked to improved child behavior. This is because it enables parents and teachers to work together to help improve social functioning and eliminate a child’s problematic tendencies.
- Greater Business Success: Lastly, parent participation will help you build a better, more successful business. The more involved parents are, the more likely they will be to evangelize your center to their social groups. Because 92% of people trust their friends more than ads, word of mouth marketing is important.
Parent participation benefits the kids you care for and the business you run.
Let’s take a look at five ways to increase it!
1. Educate Parents
First, educate parents as to why their participation is valuable. Point to studies that show the benefits of parental involvement and its impact on a child’s academic success, as well as their general behavior.
In other words, show them the information we listed in the section above.
Your newsletter is a perfect channel for parent education! Send the occasional email linking to informational articles on participation. That way parents have access to the facts if they want them, but never feel pressured into studying the topic.
Your school or daycare’s bulletin board is another channel you can use to educate parents. Pin information — short articles, expert quotes, infographics —to your board so that parents can learn about the importance of participation on a regular basis.
Remember, when it comes to early childhood development, you’re the expert. If you want to increase parent participation at your center, start by teaching parents why it’s important.
2. Invite Parents In
Have you ever asked parents to volunteer at your school or daycare? If not, now’s the time!
Some parents will be unable to volunteer. Others will be completely opposed to the idea because they’re paying you to care for their children.
But you’ll be surprised at how many parents want to be involved. The vast majority of parents care about their kids’ education and will do whatever it takes to ensure their child’s time at your center is as beneficial as it possibly can be.
So give them the opportunity to get involved. Ask them if they want to help plan an activity, or organize toys into bins at the end of the day or distribute flyers into cubbies.
Pro Tip: When collaborating with parents, take advantage of their unique skill sets. This will help them feel more comfortable volunteering. It will also improve the quality of your daycare’s lessons, meals, play time — whatever it is you ask parents to help you with.
For example, if you know that Annie’s mom is a dynamite cook, ask her if she’d be willing to bring snacks sometime next week. If Bobby’s dad plays guitar for a local cover band on the weekends, ask him if he’d be interested in leading music hour every fourth Friday.
3. Schedule Events
Another way to boost parent participation is to schedule a special event.
You could host a parent/teacher conference and ask parents to bring their children to your center to discuss the different things you’ve been teaching them. Or how about a family fun night where parents and kids come together to play games?
And who says you have to stay within the confines of your daycare or school campus? Try scheduling an educational field trip and invite parents to tag along.
Special events are a fun way to get parents involved. Schedule one and see if it helps you connect with your customers on a deeper level.
4. Build Community
Parent participation can happen outside the classroom, too. Start a closed Facebook group for parents whose children are enrolled in your program. It will give parents the opportunity to have conversations with each other, share their ideas and participate in a thriving community around your center.
You also can create a directory of parent email addresses (with consent, of course) before the school year starts. That way parents can schedule play dates for their kids and help them to get to know each other prior to their first day.
When parents get together, they inevitably start talking about their kids. These conversations almost always lead to increased levels of participation.
5. Ask For Feedback
Finally, ask parents for their opinions about your daycare or school. What do they love about it? What do they think you can improve upon? This will make them feel valued.
Parents who are given the opportunity to share feedback will automatically feel more invested in your center. As such, they’ll be much more likely to participate in their child’s education, as well as volunteer to help out from time to time and join in on your special events.
Getting feedback from parents is easy. Build a survey using a tool like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey. Then email it to parents. To increase the number of responses you receive, keep your survey short and allow parents to answer questions anonymously.
When you get feedback, take it seriously! One of the fastest ways to alienate parents is to ask them for their opinions and then completely disregard them once they give them to you.
How Procare Can Help
Just how engaged is your center? Take this quiz to find out!
When you are looking to build stronger connections with the families you serve and increase parent participation, a fully integrated parent engagement solution from Procare Solutions is the answer.
This tool includes classroom management and gives you the ability to immerse parents into their children’s day-to-day activities – from tracking developmental milestones to sharing photos and videos to enabling two-way communication.
Request a free demo today to see how Procare can boost parent participation, and help you run your business!