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Hi, I am wondering how other staff manage to get their parents involved. We have no ened of trouble getting support, our committee levels are always low but I am talking about just parent support helping to fundraise etc. Do any settings manage to get parents to partake ??? Is it acceptable to ask them to give one hour per term or pay a small waiver, they could use this hour by helping with admin, preschool, gardening or fundraising. I know some voluntary sector pre-schools ask thier parents to help in a session but we do not. Any advise would be appreciated.

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Nag, beg, threaten, cajole, persaude, bribe.

 

You do need to keep reminding them of events, although dont really nag :o

 

They need to know the money raised is going to buy something for their children.

They need to be aware that you have to raise money this way in order to continue offering choices.

Could you include something for the parents in the raffle, or during the event? Hand massage, tarot reading, henna painting...

We used to ask for parent helpers for every session but people have busier lives now so we just make sure they know they can come in at anytime.

 

We just came close to closing due to having no committee. I put a big notice up telling all the parents and waited for responses. We now have a committee of 15!! That includes staff but I'm quite happy for them to come off, not really their role.

 

Last years christmas fayre was a disaster, I think about 3-4 families arrived to take part in the tombola, raffle, stalls and games. I still have a box of things in my living room ready for an attempt this year.

 

I've decided that no matter how small the sum we raise at any event, I'm going to put a notice up thanking them and showing them a picture of what we bought. The £17.00 we raised last month with a 'loose change week' is going to buy some new pens for the wipe boards. I think maybe they will see that the money actually goes on their children and hopefully be alittle ashamed that was all we made.

Its an on going battle I'm afraid.

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Hi, I sometimes think that they just don't know what they can do or how they can get involved, or even what a voluntary run setting is, so I put the following in a newsletter:

 

How our Preschool is run: We thought it might be helpful for new parents if we explain a bit more about this. We know it can feel awkward at first for new parents to ask questions, especially when it seems like everyone knows each other. Don’t forget, though, we were all new parents at one time, just like you!

 

We are a voluntary run setting, which means that we have a Committee of volunteers who run the setting. The Committee make decisions about things like staffing, finances, policies, etc. There are three ‘Officer’ posts on the Committee - the Chair, the Treasurer, and the Secretary. These posts can be done by an individual, or shared. At the moment, XX and XX are sharing the Secretary post, XX is Chair, and XX is Treasurer (but will be leaving her post at the AGM). There can be any number of people on the Committee - you don’t have to be an Officer to come to our meetings and to vote on decisions to do with preschool.

 

Our preschool is a Charity, i.e. the money we receive is invested for the benefit of the children. It can be hard to cover costs (staff wages are our main cost) so we have to fund raise to ensure that the books balance at the end of the year. Unlike a business, we never make a ‘profit’ - any spare money goes back into the setting for the children’s benefit. We have a Reserve Fund to ensure that we can cover years where we earn less than we spend. At the moment we cannot afford to pay staff overtime, and this is why we are asking for your help when we have to do a full pack away (i.e. when the Hall has been booked by someone else). We don’t want staff to have to do this in their own free time, as they already do lots of work in their own time at home. If you have any questions at all, please just ask!

 

I have also sent out another 'parent helper' letter, see below.

 

You just have to keep putting up signs, notices, constantly talking about ways they can help. Eventually some get the message and join in!

 

Parent_Helper_Information.doc

 

Then you will get the occasional (mad?) person like me and Rea who is happy to give up lots of time and who is in a position to help more fully.

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Thank you and the letters are a brilliant idea. We have tried so many different approaches before, we always allow parents to come into setting for a session if they would like to. I want them to be so much more involved and think an hour a term to give is nothing, saying that I can remember a time when my children went to preschool I wouldnt have dreamed of joining the committee - not even sure why it was just a no. So I guess for us its a case of keep trying different approaches.

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Many thanks for the brilliant letter encouraging parents to help. Hope you don't mind but I've adapted it for Reception/F2 and I am expecting a positive deluge of parents to come in and help!! :o It's also given me ideas to get the parents involved in fundraising to help purchase toys, materials etc for their children's benefit.

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Holding coffee mornings and informal discussions about the value of play, healthy eating etc can help too. Then you will have the opportunity to speak to the parents about whether they may wish to become more involved (I find it quite suprising who shows an interest).

 

Don't forget the grandparents too - especially with gardening and ...IT! Many grandparents wish to learn more about IT, so they will flock if you host an introductory 'how to print out pictures for your grandchildren' theme.

 

Best of luck (I'm still griping about those who get involved then want to change it all, but that's another thread!)

 

Spiral.

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