For many of us, September rings the end of the Summer holidays and mostly relieved parents are quite ready to send their little nutkins back to school with a spring in their step! Not so much for Reception parents. Sending your little one in on their first day of ‘big’ school can prove quite emotional - often for parents who haven’t done it before or whose child hasn’t previously attended a nursery or similar.
Yet again , it’s the PTA to the rescue! Treat it as the perfect opportunity to comfort parents while making your existence known to parents who may never have heard of a PTA. There are several tried and tested ways of doing this. One such way, often called ‘Tea and Tissues’ is a popular one amongst seasoned PTA groups. First off, be aware that it’s not a money maker, it’s all about building awareness and introducing your PTA to a very valuable group of people. The hallowed ‘New Parent’ group, who often come with an abundance of enthusiasm and a genuine willingness to be a part of something that benefits their child.
So what is ‘Tea and Tissues’?
This can vary depending on your facilities and availability on the day of Reception class starting. Ideally, you have access to a space where those new, tearful parents come having dropped their child off. Provide timeout and a cup of tea or coffee and a choccie biccie . Be a comforting presence for them, with a tissue to hand should it be required!
Once you’ve assembled this valuable captive audience, you can make a quick speech about all the good work the PTA does for the children and the school, and how , because of increasing funding cuts, running PTA fundraising events is more important than ever. Explain the importance of volunteering and taking part. Let them know how valuable a contribution they can make by
a) Volunteering their time at events or in preparing for events
b) Sharing their skills - mention some of these skills ( crafting, social media, graphic design, carpentry etc. )
c) Sponsorship ( they may have their own business after all or know a business owner personally )
d) Matchfunding ( ask them to find out if their employer supports matchfunding )
e) Financial support - some parents may like to join your 50/50 club or simply give a donation
It’s also crucial that you let them know what the PTA has contributed to the school and the benefit that has been for the children. stress the point that as their children have only just joined that they will continue to benefit for the next seven or so years.
Also, impress on them the fact that none of these additional benefits can happen without the PTA and that without volunteers the PTA could cease to exist!
If it’s not possible to organise a ‘Tea and Tissues’ event, some schools hand out a ‘Tea and Tissues’ pack at drop-off. This consists of a PTA ‘branded’ paper bag with a teabag, biscuit, pack of tissues and some sort of correspondence from the PTA inside. Some schools write a poem, some include a letter or poster including the information described above, but all with the message, “The PTA need you!”.
Whatever you decide, i wish you the best of luck getting new volunteers on board. If you want to share a video like the one above at your Tea and Tissues event or on your social media, feel free to request one here http://bit.ly/ptapromoteform