Late last year, Council received a Children's Week Grant to support P&C projects to welcome families starting school in 2022. We matched the funding and invited P&Cs to apply for $200 to assist with expenses. The theme was ‘play & network’ and the idea was to support P&Cs and Parent Associations to welcome families, provide P&C information and parent resources, and opportunities for children to play and make friends.
Most P&Cs already have great ideas to welcome new parents but it’s a particularly challenging task during a pandemic.
One primary school P&C used the funding for a combined family picnic and Annual General Meeting in the garden in December. They provided children’s entertainment during the AGM, and created a COVID-safe and wet-weather plan. Over one hundred adults and children attended — a third of the families enrolled to start at the school! The funding covered two thirds of expenses while the event was organised with assistance from a relatively new parent to the school who has a background in event management. We will be sharing her top tips for organising this event at the next Early Learning Committee meeting.
A welcome event is a terrific opportunity for the P&C to say ‘hello and welcome!’ to new parents and carers, and have a brief conversation about the P&C and what you do. It’s an invitation for new families to stay connected, and utilise P&C resources.
Mawson Primary P&C had to cancel their face-to-face event due to COVID restrictions. Instead, they produced a flyer to accompany welcome giftbags for preschool and kindergarten children. Ayomi, the Early Learning (EL) Parent Rep at Mawson Primary said that the giftbags helped children to feel special and welcome, and the flyers welcomed the families, inviting them to connect with their P&C.
"The P&C AGM was my first introduction to the P&C and when I nominated to become the Early Learning Parent Representative, it’s been a wonderful way to get to know the school. The feedback I’ve received from parents is really touching."
Parents often tell Council that they appreciate the opportunity to network with other parents and learn about what’s happening at the school.
Harrison School P&C purchased playdough pots as a welcome gift for each child starting preschool and printed flyers with information about the P&C. Parents were also invited to join their virtual community on Facebook. This is a space where families can connect and access relevant information. Liz, the EL Parent Rep also shares reference information from Council, such as early childhood resources, information on transitions to preschool/school, and active play.
While the funding Council had to share wasn’t large, we found that small gestures can make a big impression on new parents. It’s a worthwhile investment towards growing your P&C.
This article appeared in ParentACTion Magazine, Term 1, 2022.