As the first half of the year winds down, it’s a great time to celebrate the contributions of parent volunteers. When you look back at the beginning of the year and think about how far your students have come, it’s very likely that certain volunteers played a part along the way. Perhaps parents came into the class to read with students, to organize your library, to do after school tutoring, to chaperone field trips, or to help organize supplies. Their contributions meant that you had more time to focus on curriculum design and instruction. In giving their time to the classroom, volunteers have allowed you to spend more time working with your students. Here are just a few ways to thank them for their participation so far this year.
Invite parent volunteers to a morning brunch before school begins. You could collaborate with other teachers and have this be a school-wide celebration of parent volunteerism. Each teacher could make a brunch plate such as a frittata, muffins, breakfast burritos, hash browns, or any types of pastries that people enjoy. Don’t forget to have coffee and juice available too. Write thank you cards to each of your volunteers and be specific about how their contributions made a difference to your classroom.
One quick and easy way to celebrate your parent volunteers is to give them a shout out in your weekly classroom newsletter. Write about what the volunteer did for the classroom and include pictures if possible. An even more special way of celebrating the parent volunteer would be to have a student write up this portion of the newsletter and talk about how the parent volunteer impacted their day or helped their learning. This type of public celebration may also encourage other parents to participate in the classroom.
If your school has a garden, consider using some of the vegetables or fruits as thank yous to volunteers. You could make a beautiful vegetable or flower bouquet that the volunteer can enjoy at home. This would be an especially meaningful gift for parent volunteers who helped to set up the garden or who helped to maintain it.
Instead of buying of bulk packages of thank you cards, create cards online using this site. Upload images of the volunteers working with students or in the classroom. Inside, write a message thanking the person for their contribution on that particular day and explain to them how much it means to you that they take time out of their day to help in the classroom.
Thanking your parents in a newsletter helps get the word out about their volunteerism to the local school community. But you can go broader than that with your thank yous. Consider using Twitter or Instagram to thank your parent volunteers. If they’re okay with it, tag them in the post. This kind of shout out is great for the wider community to see that parents are involved with your school. Employers also like to see that people are working and volunteering in the community.
How do you thank parent volunteers for their service? We’dlove to hear your suggestions in the comments below.