Parents supporting each other
Now more than ever, your Parent Club is a vital social hub for parents to support each other and share ideas.
Little things mean a lot – a simple idea, a few words of encouragement and support, an inspiring photo or video, or just knowing that you’re not alone in the issues you’re dealing with.
Keep your Parent Club going
- You can run your Parent Club meetings online using videoconferencing tools such as Zoom. Some parents will actually prefer online meetings since they don’t have to travel.
- You can also run your AGM online. The AGM is essential – it’s mandated in your Constitution.
- The normal rules (from your Constitution) apply to online meetings. You still need a chair, quorum requirements still apply, you still need someone to take and distribute minutes.
- You can still run guest speaker events – in fact, there’s an opportunity to bring in guest speakers from remote locations – even from overseas – the online environment has no borders!
- More help with online events below…
Share your ideas
We know that Parent Clubs are coming up with creative ways to keep their vital activities going during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We plan to share those ideas around on this page.
This page is new, we will update it frequently as new ideas come to hand.
Has your school or Parent Club run a successful activity or found a great ‘workaround’ during the COVID-19 lockdown?
Share it with us! Just pop the details in our online form.
- Support your school’s Principal and management team with regular Facebook posts (Have an agreement with the school first, about how this is going to work.)
- Our friend Mandy the Fundraising Whisperer has some great ideas for “COVID-friendly” fundraisers.
See our fundraising page for more information.
- One Parent Club recently collected a large supply of home made masks from the parent community and donated them to staff at their school.
Come back soon for more good ideas, or give us your ideas via the button at left.
Every school community is different
Every community – and every school – has different demographics, different strengths and different needs.
What are the needs in your school community?
How will you find out?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Run a survey. There are free online tools such as Survey Monkey and Google Forms. Keep it short and to the point.
- Use your online meetings to listen to your members. Encourage members to ‘network’ with other parents and be alert to emerging needs in the school community.
- Watch social media. Are there themes in the comments? If a few people say it, many others are probably thinking it.
- Keep in touch with teachers and school management. They should be aware of issues and needs in the school community.
Online tools and rules
All over the world, online communications are replacing face-to-face meetings and events. Whether it’s a multinational corporation or your Parent Club, we’re all adapting to new methods of communication. Some parents who are working from home may be all too familiar with online communication tools such as Zoom. Others will still find them challenging.
- A range of tools is available – videoconferencing (e.g. Zoom) and social media are popular, but don’t forget good old-fashioned email groups (e.g. Google Group). These are flexible, people can read and reply to emails when it suits them. Not everyone wants to be on social media, but it’s reasonable to expect that all your members will have access to email. And there’s always the phone…
- Parents who are working from home may feel they’re already spending far too much time at the computer. If you’re organising online events such as meetings via videoconference, keep them as short as possible and make them flexible – schedule the essential items first so that ‘Zoom-weary’ parents can leave early.
- Don’t be discouraged if attendance is sometimes low – some parents will have already been videoconferencing all day! Allow your members to choose their own level of involvement and respect their decisions.
- Remember that not all parents will be comfortable or experienced in using such technology – but others will, enlist them as ‘tech support’ to help those who need it.
- For videoconferencing, you might be using Webex or Microsoft Teams at work, but to stay inclusive you’ll probably want to stick to something free and easy-to-use. A recent Parents Victoria survey suggested that Zoom is the most popular system for videoconferencing.
For more on Zoom…
Zoom meeting tips
If you are using Zoom to run meetings or social events, here are a few tips:
- New to Zoom? See this video, specially made to get you started. We suggest you run a test meeting with a few friends to ‘get the feel’ of how it works. Running a Zoom meeting is very different to just joining in.
- Make sure everyone gets the meeting invitation in advance.
- Keep interruptions to a minimum, and encourage others to do the same.
- As the meeting host, you can mute all participants. This is a very useful feature (especially for a guest-speaker event) but explain how and why you’re going to use it first.
- Don’t make everyone wait while you sort out one person’s technical issues. Try a quick fix and if it doesn’t work, move on if all possible, for the sake of other participants. Encourage all participants to test their system before the meeting.
- You might find wearing headphones helps you to hear better and blocks out background noise.
- Speaking of background noise, try to find a quiet room to use Zoom. A blaring TV or loud voices in the background are very distracting for you and others (your microphone will pick them up).
- You can use Zoom on a tablet or phone, but most users report a better experience on a laptop or desktop computer. It’s easier to find the controls and you can generally see all the other participants, which makes for a more ‘social’ experience.