Getting parents involved in educational travelEmily Ward
Getting parents involved in educational travel programs is a vital piece of the puzzle to have a successful trip. The skills that a student obtains through education travel plays heavily into their entire life. These skills include being responsible, knowing how to communicate, teamwork, self-confidence, and to be engaged in a new way that most students do not experience on a daily basis. Parents appreciate the value of a student’s education in travel and the eye-opening wonders acquired. And parents involved in the educational travel program and their children’s lives are the kind of parents that can be a blessing to education.
Parents/Guardians act as Chaperones, Coordinators, Drivers, Cooks, Mentors, they manage fund-raisers, they act as Cheerleaders (please don’t ask the dads to dress in skirts and shake pompoms though), furthermore just about anything you can think of. Parents ARE part of the trip, so it is so important for Teachers to always keep parents in mind when planning.
How do Teachers get parents involved?
Before your year even starts, have a marketing campaign ready that is focused on parents. Be resourceful by including information in the school’s newsletter. Every parent gets a copy and it’s free advertising. Right out of the gate, it is also a great idea to send letters to the parents of all of the incoming students explaining your educational trip and invite parents and guardians to a meeting.
In the meeting, you want to keep in on the short end. Have current parent boosters at the door to welcome prospective parents. It is great to start with explaining the trip highlights and the valuable role of the parents in assisting in opening student’s eyes to your trip. Collect as much information as you can from parents but don’t try to push them into any commitments. Include what is expected of the students and the commitment involved. See if you can get someone from the school’s administration to attend to show the importance of your program. Give parents some advice on how they help. It is going to be important that the students don’t lose motivation and the parents will play a huge role from home. Just also make sure that you are not overwhelming parents right away because you are also asking for their help too. Parenting is a full-time job and sometimes it is difficult to help a parent/guardian to step back and realize the opportunity that is in front of them is a benefit for them as well. Getting involved in the trip will give parents/guardians the opportunity to share moments with their child in the last 4 years of their high school education. These years are precious and sometimes hard for a parent/guardian to connect with their child…and it really does goes by quickly. This is a wonderful opportunity for parents to be involved in the community, help their child see that they appreciate a parent/guardian being involved, and new bonds can be created. It helps to show the importance of being a part of the program by having a past parent speak about the benefits of being involved. Is it beneficial to keep meetings going by having a monthly meeting where parents/guardians can learn more about the program and where they can help. Be consistent with when the meeting is, so parents are more likely to attend. If the parent has any organizational skills, they are planning their life in advance and having a consistent date makes the probability of attending increase. It might be difficult to do it on the spot, but if you can take a live poll of when a date is the most convenient for the most parents, that helps. And if a parent doesn’t attend, follow up with them with emails and phone calls to keep them in the loop. Also, it is great to plan a social event soon after the meeting to get the parents involved.
A good example of social events might be asking for help with tailgating. Parents and guardians are likely to be at these events anyways. Parents have been known to set up meals for students before to every home game. This gives you, the Teacher, the chance to engage the parents.
Are your parents and students ready to take education to the next level? Contact Educational Destinations to start planning your trip.