Helping New Room Parents Learn the Ropes

New at the room parent gig? No worries, we have you covered.


03/05/2019

As a rookie room parent, I’ve definitely been both enamored and intimidated by the veteran room moms.  Sure, I’m addicted to Pinterest, and I can easily freehand jack-o-lantern smiles on fruit cups. I enjoy designing flyers, I love a good mason jar gift, and I know when to just say no to glitter.  I also really, really love my kids and want nothing but to be able to help them have a memorable, fun-filled school year. So if there’s one thing I’d like to ask of veteran room moms: it’s to just let me in, to trust me, to let me help you, to show me the ropes. 

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Room parents do really, really great work.  And understandably, many continue to return to their posts year after year, happily coasting from one classroom to another, able to easily maintain the parent/teacher communication channels that they’ve worked hard to establish over time. Quite simply, many veteran room parents opt to keep the position every year because they know the ropes – and they love the climb. But, what about all the new parents who are eagerly anticipating the opportunity to get involved in their child’s classroom?

What I hope to be one day is like the room parents I’ve seen up close, the die-hard “room godfathers”, effortlessly sourcing, coordinating and directing parent volunteers, always just a phone call (or a text, or a parking spot) away. I’d love to be part of this crowd that’s in it for the long-haul: their toilet paper tube collections are at an all time high, their instinct to wield a lint roller at the first sign of a glitter blowout is sharp, and they've perfected the art of refereeing Minute to Win It games while mentally rolodexing every parent’s name badge at first sight. This crowd of super humans with super hearts is a good one: they are the smile-makers, the ones who can turn pool noodles into candy canes and churn out super cute (pre-packaged) snacks on the fly. (And, yes, we checked: they only have two hands like the rest of us.)

As the grades pass by, they continue to hold the torch (made of tissue paper and toilet paper tubes, of course), and their years of classroom experience stack up.  

But, there comes a time when one must pass the torch – back and forth at any rate. New parents have so much spirit to offer, particularly at the start of the school year; their enthusiasm is contagious, palpable. They want to help in the classroom, but maybe aren’t quite sure where to start, or who to ask. 

Getting acclimated as a new room parent simply takes time, particularly at the kindergarten level, when everything is so new (and so shiny!). Sometimes, it can be hard to see beyond the cupcakes and the glitter; the process of feeling teachers out, learning school and classroom rules (like food allergies, for one), and really getting to know the people and processes of the school community can seem a bit daunting. But, like any good volunteer knows, every able body who wants to help out, and has a smile to share, is worth having on the team – no matter how new they are.

So, if you see rookie room parents like me at your school, we may be confused, stressed out, or just plain lost. Give us a hand. We want to be like you veterans...and we need your help to get there!