Our P&C: Palmerston Primary

In what we hope will be a regular feature, ACT P&Cs share their approaches and activities. This issue, P&C President Jo Prezzi tells us what's happening at Palmerston Primary.

Palmerston P&C has a vibrant group of parents involved again this year. With parents moving on as their children leave the school, the regulars are slowly changing. This year the P&C revised some of the ways that we operate. We asked ourselves 'what do we want our focus to be and how will this benefit our school and our children?' Then the Executive decided what we wanted to achieve this year. Below are some examples of what we are doing for each of our goals.

Foster community involvement at the school through regular events and opportunities
We now hold a fortnightly Chat-About coffee and chat session in our library resource room. This provides parents and carers with an opportunity to catch up with other parents and chat with their P&C members. We do this in conjunction with Defence parents too.

Some wonderful parents opened Palm Café (the school canteen) two days a week. This gives parents a regular place to help out and it provides the children with much enjoyment as they buy healthy snacks over the counter.

We worked with the school early this year to map out a yearly calendar of events and activities to ensure that fundraising was at known points and that events fit in with what children were learning at that time. This gives teachers time to plan activities and projects with their students in their normal planning cycles, making it easier for students to contribute. Fundraising is more targetted to fund specific priority events, items or services. And parents are not asked to volunteer as often!

Encourage students to be more involved with fundraising efforts
Leading up to their graduation, some of the Year five and six students will be holding mufti days and fundraising events instead of the P&C. This gives students an opportunity to co-ordinate the fundraising for their special event.

Students from the SRC were involved in running the Mother's Day stall. Some Mums were even lucky enough to get several gifts packaged as one!
The P&C wants to help students to live by the Palmerston Pride values (Participation, Respect, Integrity, Determination and Empathy).

Make communication between parents and carers, the P&C and the school easier
Early in the year the P&C Executive introduced themselves through the school's newsletter and provided their photos. We regularly make announcements at morning lines so that parents know who we are and what is happening. We also write a regular update in our newsletter with information about past events and upcoming items of interest or calls for assistance to keep parents better informed.

The P&C together with the school produce a 'What's on' segment in the Newsletter and school's calendar so parents only have to look in one place. This makes it easier for the school to ensure all the notice boards also have the right information.
Both the P&C evening meeting and our fortnightly P&C Chat-About sessions offer parents an opportunity to talk to their P&C representatives, ask questions and make suggestions.

Our school has a new assembly time of Friday 9:00 after parents requested this. It means working parents can more easily come and see their child perform and enjoy a sing along! The turn-out of parents at the first two assemblies was fantastic. The P&C now make announcements at this time so that we can better inform parents of any news. And parents/carers can more easily

Make it clear how fundraising is spent and how our children directly benefit from it
We make it clear how much money we raise, we tell parents how their children are benefitting, and we thank helpers. For example: "The school disco made $700. The P&C recently donated $1500 to pay for students to see a Canberra Theatre production. Thank you to all those that helped on the night".

With these simple goals and activities, by working closely with the school and by being friendly and welcoming, we continue to see more parents become involved in the school and the P&C. We greatly appreciate and enjoy their involvement and help!

This article appeared in ParentACTion, Term 3, 2014. See other past editions of our quarterly magazine. It is part of a series of articles sharing expertise across our P&Cs.