That ever-present volunteer sign-up sheet in your child's preschool classroom isn't just wall decor. Parental involvement in preschool classrooms plays an essential role in academic and developmental success, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Although it is often difficult to fit in volunteer time in between work, laundry and acting as a dad-taxi, the simple act of just being there for your young child's learning is key.
Learning doesn't stop when your preschooler walks out of the school doors. Parents who are actively involved in the classroom often find it easier to extend the learning to the home environment. Being in the classroom regularly or at least talking to the teacher daily, can give parents an idea of what their children are learning in school. Instead of leaving it all up to the teacher, parents can take the concepts, projects and activities that their preschoolers do in the classroom home for an added academic experience.
Time spent in the preschool classroom, as well as time spent talking about daily school activities, provides the perfect opportunity for bonding. Snuggle up together on the sofa or make time during a family dinner to talk about what your child did that day. It might not seem like a lot, but that daily discussion about your preschooler's day is an easy way to bond, foster communication skills and keep on top of what your little learner is up to in the classroom.
Some kids walk into the first day of preschool with confidence, while other don't feel a sense of comfort. On top of that, some dads might not feel entirely comfortable with leaving their precious little angel in the care of a stranger all day. Making a connection with your child's school can help you to feel better about leaving her there all day. If you feel more comfortable with your child's preschool, she can too. Volunteering in the room or even just talking to the teacher daily can help any mom (and child) feel better about going to school.
Moms and dads are members of the community, too. From firefighters to crossing guards, parents hold many different jobs that young children are interested in learning about. Volunteering in the classroom to talk about your job or even lead a profession-related activity can help your child (and her classmates) to better understand the surrounding community. Don't worry, this isn't a high-stress public speaking engagement. All you need to do is spend a little time talking about what you do every day, minus the headaches from your boss, angry customers and the 45-minute commute that includes two buses and a train.