Family Participation

CA Preschool Classroom 1We have a high level of parent, family, and community participation in our program, and they do so for a variety of highly satisfying reasons.

To begin with, when you and your other family members are involved, our program runs better, it is more responsive to all families and children, and the learning and development of your child and other children is greatly enhanced.

We know that most parents these days have busy lives and deal with a variety of challenges on their time and other resources. Your participation helps you and your family to be more aware of how the program functions and where your child can benefit from your support. Any contributions that you make will greatly increase the quality of the program for your child and for others.

We also have community members who are not parents who participate actively and contribute often to the program. Your child benefits directly in many ways from all of the resources that we are able to obtain and implement in the program.

Summer Book & Box MargoParent Participation at C5 — When you enroll your child in C5, your child is assigned to a classroom of similar aged children and a highly professional team of teachers who are also supported by other staff members. Your child will also have a primary teacher and be a member of a small learning group. Each classroom has a Head Parent who will help you to get acquainted and continue to have access to the basic information from an experienced parent’s point of view. The Head Parent can also give you examples of how you can support the program. This alliance with you and other C5 parents helps to strengthen the C5 parent community and builds an important link for your family to other families. There are many ways to support C5. We have identified approximately 35 different areas for learning in each classroom that we ask each parent to consider and choose one or two that they can support in some way. Usually the areas that you choose to support match your interest, experience, skills, knowledge, or other resources to which you have access. Your support will also include participation in enjoyable fundraising activities, such as the annual Festival of Learning and the annual used book and video sale. All families participate in one way or another to support these annual events.

How You Can Help – Family members may participate in a variety of ways. You may think of some that we have not.

First, every parent is asked to select and commit to support an area in the classroom, as mentioned above. The list of the 35 learning areas is available on our comprehensive Private Website. When you choose and contribute to one or more of the areas in your child’s classroom, it will very likely increase your child’s sense that you care about their learning and development, that they are acknowledged and appreciated when away from home, and you are a significant part of their school program.

Summer Book & Box Gabriel 2Then, there are a few other ways for you to consider—You can support the amazing array of children’s projects that under way in each classroom in the program by bringing in recycled items for your child and her or his teachers to use; contributing your experience, skills, materials, and information related to the projects; joining the other parents when the children celebrate milestones and completion of projects; and, helping to document the projects or organize the presentation, publishing, or archiving of the projects.

You might volunteer to be an Artist in Residence for two afternoons one month. Our notion of an Artist in Residence is broad and welcoming of parents and friends of C5 who might offer a wide range of skills, experience, knowledge, and enthusiasms. To see our list of recent Artists in Residence, click here.

Summer Book & Box GabrielYou could also help with the C5 newsletters and other publications, maintaining the Websites, building play equipment and furniture; helping with technology support; doing a little sewing; chaperoning on the neighborhood field trips; being in on the seasonal cleanups; coordinating the annual picnic; organizing social events; helping with grants research and grants writing; maintaining relations with funding agencies; and, public relations.

You could volunteer to be a Head Parent when you have been in the program a while.

Typically, many kindergartens and primary schools look to a parent’s record of contributions to their child’s preschool years in determining acceptance into their schools.

There are some exciting and rewarding things going on all the time at C5, and parents’ participation as individuals or in groups on children’s explorations and projects make it even more so!

Summer Book & Box 2Other Ways — Most of the families come to the Potlucks & Sing-alongs that happen three times a year. You can help by obtaining contributions from friends and other family members of needed items from your child’s classroom wish list; providing cash donations; obtaining employer matching funds; conducting fundraising activities; buying and having close and extended family members wear C5 logo clothing; and, by contributing your expertise or life experiences as a special visitor or Artist in Residence directly to children in the classroom.

School Support Committee and Governance — There are many opportunities to form a committee or serve on one that is already operating. Most operate under the aegis of the School Support Committee. The guideline is usually to base your participation on a personal interest or area of expertise or other resource that you want to offer. You may also be interested in serving on the Board of Directors. Talk to the staff, administration or a member of the Board of Directors about where you can get involved.

Parent Visitation Guidelines — We are pleased to have parents visit the Centers. Whenever you visit, there are a few guidelines to follow. Simply ask any staff member for information. We also invite you to ask questions about activities, learning approaches, and teaching techniques to help you better understand the program and ways that you can support your child and the program at school and at home.

Walks: As part of our program at both Centers, under special conditions, children participate in walks outside of the Center within the building or, for appropriate age groups, around the immediate area outside the building, such as to the Children’s Division of the Main Branch Public Library, Asian Art Museum, Ballet, Philharmonic, Conservatory of Music, City Hall, Community Garden, and the Civic Center Park. These informal outings in the immediate area outside are confined to within a five-block radius of the Center. Children in the Toddler Programs at both centers can take buggy rides around the block or to the nearby Farmers Market.

Wider travel for either or both centers beyond the immediate area outside of the building is announced in advance and requires C5’‘s full field trip planning and implementation procedures, which include parent or guardian approval and children having adult chaperones in a one-to-two ratio.

Field trips beyond the immediate vicinity of the centers: C5 carefully organizes special field trips for children that compliment the projects and activities that are of current interest in the classrooms. For example, a an interest in one of the pre-kindergarten learning groups was restaurants. Each day during their project time, the children cooked different foods, made aprons, served lunch to their peers, practiced taking orders on note pads, and learned restaurant hosting and management. The children, teachers, and parents planned field trips to a pie making plant and viewed commercial food preparation and cooking and to a prestigious dinner restaurant to view the staff making the meals change-over and the set-up for dinner.

Preparation: Extensive care is applied in planning and taking field trips. Permission forms are signed by parents. Parents volunteer to be chaperones in a 1:2 adult to child ratio. Orientation sessions are conducted. Maps, schedules, and emergency contact information are handed out to all adult participants. Adults wear distinctive safety vests and carry emergency gear that includes wireless communications, flags, stop signs, safety lights, and first aid supplies.

In related activities: Many parents plan and conduct play dates for families to get together on weekends, and some dates are for field trips outside of the C5 school and scheduled school time.

Guests: C5 also brings in a wide variety of guests who talk to, present, and work with the children. The categories of visitors a numerous and includes, architecture, construction, transportation, research, animal handling, painting, weaving, film-making, photography, domestic and commercial cooking, musical performing, computer graphics, storytelling, etc.