4 Benefits of Volunteering at your child's school

Volunteering in a school doesn’t always feel impactful. Sometimes it is tasks as small as making photo copies for a teacher and sometimes it is as monumental as listening to a student read to you or facilitating a small group discussion. Whether large or small, volunteering at your student’s school has tremendous amount of positive effects on your student’s education. Below are 4 benefits of volunteering at your student’s school.

1. Parent involvement correlates to academic success

There has been a tremendous amount of research done in the area of academic success and parent involvement in schools. Overwhelmingly the research has shown that when parents are involved in the activities of a school their student experiences more academic success regardless of the volunteer's education level or the social economic level of the students who attend.

School volunteer work of all kinds has been linked to small improvements in kids' grades and test scores, based on a 2005 survey of 41 studies of 20,000 kindergarten through sixth-grade students by William Jeynes, an education professor at California State University, Long Beach. Scholarly studies generally don't distinguish among specific types of volunteer roles.

Never is volunteering more impactful than in your child’s elementary school years. Kathleen Cotton and Karen Reed Wikelund published “Parent Involvement in Education” as part of the School Improvement Research Series. In their article they found that the relationship between academic success and parent involvement is greater the younger the student is.  

2. Volunteering in the classroom lets your child know you care

There’s an old adage that says, “I hear what you say, but I see what you do.” Volunteering at your child’s school can send a powerful message. Without so much as saying the words, you are communicating to your child that what he or she is doing every day in school is important and that you are interested and supportive of the day-to-day activities he or she is involved in. It can also change the dinner table conversations you have around the topic of school. Instead of asking your child about what he or she is doing in math or how he or she is doing in class you can talk about what you saw in math or class and that is, oftentimes, a more specific and meaningful conversation.

3. Volunteering at your child’s school exposes students to positive adult role models other than their teachers and own parent.

Volunteering at your child’s school has an impact on other students as well. Students need to learn to interact with adults that are not their parent. When you volunteer in your child’s class you are not only giving the teacher an extra set of adult eyes or hands, but you are giving students an opportunity to interact with another adult.

4. Volunteering at your child’s school frees up the teachers and staff to do a better job.

In school, tasks that are not urgent oftentimes get pushed to tomorrow. When tomorrow comes there are, oftentimes, new problems that arise and force the not-pressing tasks off to another tomorrow. Oftentimes teacher lesson plans are a compromise of what they would like to do and what they can do given the amount of time they have to do them. When a parent volunteers at a school it takes tasks off of the staff so they can devote more time to provides educators an opportunity to be a better educator. Because I cannot say it any better, I will leave you with a quote from a blog post on US Department of Education blog Homeroom:

Parent volunteers have been a lifeline for me and have enriched my classroom more than they will ever know. Every time a parent volunteers to take a task that saves a teacher time, he or she enables that teacher to be a better educator. Parents have raised money to fill in budget gaps and have routinely provided items not in the budget. I am so thankful for parents that have dutifully read emails, checked homework, attended parent conferences, and kept their children reading through the summer, all to support their child and their school.


Amy Fredrickson