Question: Classroom parties

We have three main classroom parties each year - one for the Fall, Winter and a Friendship Party in February. Over the years, the time allocated for each party has been shortened so that now they are only lasting 30 minutes! As you can imagine, there are a number of problems associated with this such as it is difficult to play a game, eat a snack and do a craft all in 30 minutes! We made it work in the Fall but a number of other issues have also been raised. Many parents work but in the past when the parties were over an hour and a half, they would take the day off to volunteer. This year, there were a lack of volunteers as it really isn't worth it to take time off work for a half hour party. Also, the school corporation is being very strict with regards to food being brought into school such as cupcakes and candy - even for class parties. This has also caused tension amongst some parents and on the day of the parties it can lead to awkward situations. We are trying to think of possible solutions such as getting more time for the party by coinciding in part with each grades recess, possibly buuying approved snacks from the corporation or having a Family Fun Night instead. Has anyone else experienced these problems and how were they resolved? Thanks

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
These problems are pretty common. There's increasing pressure on teachers to maximize class time, and districts throughout the country are implementing "wellness policies" (a federal mandate) that often ban traditional snacks from classrooms. Holding a family night is a good solution. It allows more parents to take part, and it can become an occasion people will remember for a long time. There are lots of possibilities: something that compliments the curriculum, like a reading night or math night; an active night with gym games; or a night simply aimed at fun and family, like a movie night. We have several free School Family Night kits that walk you through how to put on specific family nights. You might also check out the story Make Your Family Night a Winner for tips and suggestions.

Community Advice

badpants writes:
Our class parties have been cut short as well and truthfully, the kids don't seem to mind. I know the teachers are happier to not have the distraction and parents seem to be on board as well. We have found that more parents are able to help, now that the help has been limited to a snack/treat, drink and paper products. The head room parent sends out a call for help asking for parents to send in snacks/treats, drinks and napkins/plates. Personally, I miss the classroom parties, but I've made a business from planning parties (I'm an event planner)! A Family Night is a great compromise and withh some good planning, you can create something fantastic that parents can't wait to show up for! It could turn into the annual can't miss event! We plan several of these events at my kids school and we have a great turn out at each one. Families really enjoy having a chance to do something with their kids that is both fun and low cost. Getting a chance to socialize with other parents is a nice bonus too and you may find that you have opened up an opportunity for more volunteers. A dance in February would be a great place to start!

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