“Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith, We are so thankful to have Suzy in our class this year. We would be overjoyed to have you visit our classroom…”
Have you ever sent out a personal invitation like this? During most of my years of teaching Sunday school, we had an open invitation to parents to visit the classroom. It’s sad to say, but very few parents took advantage of it. For those who did, their presence was overwhelmingly positive for everyone involved. So here are three wonderful reasons you should do everything possible to encourage parents to visit their child’s classroom on occasion:
1. Classroom Volunteers Will Be Encouraged
Too often, classroom volunteers feel isolated or even “invisible” to parents. When a parent visits the classroom, an important personal connection can begin to be fostered. Volunteers are heartened by parental interest. Parents are signaling to volunteers, “I care about the spiritual education of my child.” Additionally, a parent’s presence can help volunteers understand the child better as we watch the parent-child dynamic and are given an opportunity to interact with the parent.
2. Parents Will Gain a Greater Appreciation and Perspective, and See Opportunities
I once sat in on my child’s classroom and went away thinking: I am so thankful for what my child has been taught and for this group of faithful volunteers! The teacher was a godly man, who radiated a love for Jesus, imploring the students to genuinely embrace and live out God’s Word. The entire classroom was well structured, and every volunteer interacted on an amazing spiritual level with the children. I went away with a greater appreciation for their ministry to my child.
I’ve also visited a classroom in response to my child’s complaints. Knowing my child may be misrepresenting the situation, I felt I needed to gain a better perspective. In visiting the classroom, it became evident to me that a lack of classroom discipline was a major factor, partially due to not enough adult volunteers. I brought this to the attention of the leadership, and more volunteers—including myself—were recruited. Things changed for the better with the additional help.
3. Students Will Benefit from the Presence of Parents
In my experience, the presence of even one or two parents in the classroom had an amazing calming effect. It was as if the children were trying to display their best behavior. They generally were more attentive during worship time and the Bible lesson. But I think the benefits go much deeper than that. The presence of parents provides children with a greater sense of what the “body of Christ”—the church—is all about.
We are living in community with one another, young and old alike. Having parents in the classroom from time to time is a visible reminder of this. Not only do their own parents and teachers care about the outcome of faith, but so do other mothers and fathers in the church.
I am sure there are many more benefits that other classroom volunteers have noticed. So, if you haven’t done so, please extend a personal invitation to the parents of your students. Suggest possible dates to them and work out a schedule in order to stagger the visits—you probably don’t want 10 parents visiting on the same day! Send out a “What to expect” note to parents before they visit. And when they come, be sure to warmly welcome them and introduce them to the students.