The Step-By-Step Guide to Being Room Parent
We LOVE room parents! Thanks for taking on this important role in your child’s class this year. We know it can seem overwhelming right now, but it’s so worthwhile to be such an integral part of the school year. Not convinced? Read what real room moms say about the experience.
To help you kick off the year in high gear we’ve put together this Room Parent Starter Kit with everything you’ll need to get organized, communicate with parents and the teacher, host great classroom parties, and make awesome crafts with kids.
Back to School:
This is an important time of year as it sets the tone and a LOT of communication happens at the beginning of the year. We recommend reaching out to parents quickly to introduce yourself and get some key information from each family.
This list of communications might seem a bit daunting but just download and customize our templates and you’ll be off to the class parent races!
- Welcome letter to introduce yourself and request email or other contact information from parents.
- Volunteer recruitment letter to let parents know you’ll be expecting their help, a good message to send right from the start. Asking for information about parents interests and hobbies gives you an idea of how to best organize volunteer time.
- Teacher interest survey to help you learn what the teacher likes/dislikes, especially useful when putting together teacher appreciation gifts later in the year.
- Form to ask for up-front donation (if you choose to do this).
You’ll also want to schedule some time with the teacher to review key dates and expectations. Our list of top questions to ask the teacher will help you in those initial conversations.
Now it’s time to get planning! Use our planning calendar to keep track of important school-related dates all year long. It includes the more popular days of recognition and monthly themes. It’s a good idea to print it and write in any important dates specific to your school.
A big part of the room mom gig is organizing classroom parties. Thanksgiving, Christmas/Holiday, Valentine’s Day, and End of Year class parties are the biggies, but many folks choose to organize parties for other themes throughout the year as well.
One of the first things to organize is the date and theme for the first class party. For many this is scheduled to celebrate either Halloween or Thanksgiving. You’ll want to talk to the teacher, check your school calendar (to avoid other important activities), and maybe even get feedback from a couple of parents. Pick a date and time and be sure to confirm with the teacher before letting parents know to save the date.
Each class party usually involves an activity & snack, although some schools prefer that food is kept out of the classroom, in this case a group story or extra activity is a good idea.
We have lots of themed downloadables, clipart, and tools to help you organize and manage the festivities:
- A sign-up sheet to keep track of what everyone is doing and bringing to the party. Let parents know you’ll post a copy in the classroom but they can also just email or call with what they’d like to contribute. You can also use an online option like SignUp Genius.
- Volunteer Recruitment Letter.
- A clip art collection that you can add to any documents or emails to give them pizazz.
- Event donation request letter if you choose to have parents send in money to cover the costs of the class party.
You’ll want to decide on the craft (or craftivity as we like to call it) a few weeks before the event so you have time to collect supplies and do a test run. (Trust us, test runs are important, no matter how simple the craft seems!)
What should you make? The KISS approach is definitely best. Simple, simple, simple. You’ll have limited time, a crowd of kids, and different skill levels. You’ll find lots of themed crafts on our site and on Pinterest, pick one that you’re comfortable doing, fits the theme, and won’t result in too much mess.
Tip: It’s a good idea to let the teacher know your plans for the craft and any other activities you’re doing.
Be sure to send a reminder to everyone 2-3 days before the party with the details about what everyone is bringing and the various volunteer roles.
Check with the teacher to see if she’ll need your help in celebrating classroom birthdays. Typically, parents send in snacks or little trinkets for classmates to celebrate their child’s big day, but your teacher may handle it differently and ask you to purchase a special treat (with donations from parents) for each birthday.
If the teacher asks you to get more involved with birthday celebrations, or is looking for ideas, be sure to check out the ideas in our “Birthdays at School: Instead of Cupcakes post”.
So you survived back-to-school and you have a few class parties under your belt. Now it’s time to think about teacher appreciation, this is another “biggie” for room parents.
At most schools the class parent organizes a group gift for teacher appreciation week as well as an end-of-year gift. You’ll want to pull out the teacher interest survey you collected at back to school time as a reminder about what the teacher likes, hobbies, favorite restaurants, etc.
We also have lots of fun ideas for thanking teachers, including inexpensive gifts with cute sayings.
Writing letters and notes can be time-consuming, use our templates as a starting point and customize with your own details:
- Teacher gift contribution letter
- Thank-you card text that can be used in a newsletter, note, or email
- Printable gift tags, which give any gift a special touch.
Throughout the school year:
Thanks. Say it often.
Don’t forget to thank the parents that help you along the way. A thank you note goes a long way to expressing your gratitude and inspiring the recipient to sign up to help at the next event! We have customizable notes that you can tailor
- Volunteer thank-you letter text for notes or emails. Don’t overthink this one. A quick 2 sentence email is all you need to make someone feel appreciated. We put together a few ideas to get you started, please cut/paste and edit to whatever works for your situation.
- Volunteer appreciation postcards. Print 2 to a page and include your hand-written note on the back
And finally, be sure to read “50 Ideas To Make the Room Mom Experience Rock,” our collection of room mom tips, as well as “10 Things No One Tells You About Being Room Mom,” which will give you the inside info on this job.