Join the PTA
If your child's school isn't affiliated with the PTA (National Parent Teacher Association), it probably has a "home and school" or a booster club (independently operated clubs that function the same as the PTA, just without the national recognition).
Joining your local group will help you network with other parents, get to know your child's teachers, and will allow you to stay up-to-date on everything that is going on at the school.
Volunteer in the Classroom
Teachers often need volunteers to help with hands-on classroom activities, reading to the students, or tasks like correcting papers. If you've got a little time to spare, go help your child's teacher out. Not only will she be grateful for the extra set of hands, it will also help you build a strong relationship with her.
Donate School Supplies
While working with extremely tight budgets, many teachers pay for school supplies
out of pocket. Everyday items like paper and pencils are always in high demand, and a teacher's annual stipend for supplies rarely lasts longer than the first month or two of the school year. The next time you're at an office supply store, grab some basics for your child's classroom. You'll likely make his teacher's day.
Organize a Field Trip
Do you work somewhere that might make an interesting field trip, or do you have connections to a local business that would be open to little visitors? Talk to your child's teacher about planning an out-of-classroom day trip. The students will love it, and it will open their eyes to many different career paths they can take.
Volunteer After School
Enrichment programs and after-school activities are usually the first to be affected by budget cuts. If your child is involved in one, ask the coach or leader if she needs any help. It will give you a chance to spend time with your child and her friends, and you'll be lending valuable help to programs that really need it.
Start a Garden
Do you have a green thumb? Consider helping your child's class start a vegetable garden
. This project is two-fold & the students will learn the benefits of sustainable living and organic produce
; and at harvest, you can donate your bounty to a local food shelter, or create some healthy dishes to share with the rest of the school.
Lend Your Expertise
Do you have an interesting hobby or skill that you can teach? If a field trip isn't in the cards, bring your expertise to the school. Arrange a time with the teacher to come in for an in-classroom lecture — and don't forget props! Kids love anything hands-on, so be sure to bring lots of visuals.
Organize a group of parents, kids, and community members to spend a day or weekend cleaning up the school grounds, painting walls or washing windows. Make it an annual or semi-annual event to help bring the community together.
Hold a Fundraiser
Traditional fundraisers, like bake sales, are tried and true ways to help raise money for your child's school. If baking (or washing cars), isn't your thing, try a more creative route, like holding a holiday fair with local vendors, or collecting old ink cartridges to recycle.
A monetary donation, no matter what size, is always helpful. It can buy school supplies, help fund field trips, and keep extracurricular activities from getting cut. The school will be grateful for any amount you are able to give.