If you’re wondering how to start a room parent program at your school, you’ve come to the right place! There are so many things I love about being a room mom. Volunteer opportunities in the classroom, exclusive access to the teacher, getting to know my daughter’s classmates, and of course, getting to spoil the teacher throughout the year.
I was recently contacted by a subscriber who moved to a new school district where there was no room mom program. After volunteering in her son’s classroom last year, the PTO loved the idea so she reached out to me to see how to go about starting a room parent program from scratch. So, let’s start one!
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Step 1: Coordinate with the School PTA/PTO
In general, room parents are a subset of the school’s Parent-Teacher Association or Organization. If your school does not have a PTA or PTO, you’ll need to discuss your idea with the principal. He or she will have the best advice on how to move forward with setting up the new program.
During these meetings, you’ll need to decide exactly what the expectations for room parents will be. For a list of common room mom duties, check out this post.
In general, room parent responsibilities will always pertain to one homeroom class, not school-wide events. I’ve included examples on the Room Parent Recruitment Flyer in the next step to help you get started.
Once you have an approved list of room parent duties, it’s time to customize your Room Parent Recruitment Flyer and get ready to announce the program!
Step 2: Customize the Room Parent Recruitment Flyer
This customizable room parent recruitment form will let parents know what the new program is all about. Moreover, it will give parents a tangible way to sign up to be a room parent this year.
Click here to get your own copy of the Recruitment Flyer to edit in Canva (opens in a new tab). Canva is a web-based design tool. All you need to do is create a free account to edit the forms in this post.
Now, let’s take a look at what the Room Parent Recruitment Flyer includes and how you can customize it to suit the needs of your school.
Included in the flyer:
- official announcement of the new Room Parent Program
- a general definition of a room parent
- list of what room parents are responsible for throughout the school year
- instructions on how to sign up to be a room parent including contact information for the room parent coordinator
If you haven’t already, click here to get your own copy of the flyer to edit (opens in a new tab). You can follow along with the step-by-step tutorial below to customize it!
Once you have the template open, first you’ll want to add in your school’s name and/or the name of the PTO in the top right header section as shown below. To edit any text box in Canva, simply double-click on the text you want to edit.
Next, read through the definition of a Room Parent under “What is a Room Parent?” Make sure it matches the school’s expectations/definition for room moms and dads.
In this case, I’ve included a very general definition of a room parent. I can’t tell ya how many times people have asked me what in the world is a room mom?! This definition addresses that question and is not meant to list out room parent duties (that comes next!).
Now, look through the list of room parent responsibilities listed under “What does a Room Parent do?” Type out the list of duties you cleared with the school and PTO at your previous meetings. The example list shown on the flyer is our school’s exact list of room mom responsibilities. For this reason, you’ll probably need to change most of the list shown.
Next, it’s time to fill in your contact information (or the contact information of the assigned room parent coordinator). This form gives parents two ways to sign up to be a room parent:
- fill out the form by hand and return it to school or
- send an email to the room parent coordinator directly to sign up
You can also add your phone number if you’d like interested parents to text or call you!
Now, you can download the flyer as a PDF by clicking on the download icon (it looks like an arrow pointing downward) in the top right of the Canva dashboard. Clicking the button will reveal a drop-down menu. Select the “Download” button from there and the file should start downloading automatically.
The file type will automatically select PDF print, and I recommend leaving this setting as-is. PDFs are great for printing and for emailing!
All printables and templates are free for personal use only. If you’d like to use them school-wide, please purchase a license to reproduce by getting access to the Room Mom Vault. Thank you for your support!! 💕
Step 3: Spread the Word!
If you want parents to sign up to be a room mom, you’ll need to get the word out. There are a few ways to go about doing this…
Have Teachers Promote It at Meet the Teacher Night (Open House)
First things first, you’ll want to make sure all teachers on the staff are aware of the new Room Parent Program. To do this, you can give them copies of the flyer you just customized or you can edit this flyer especially for teachers, titled “Attention Teachers!”
When using the Attention Teachers! template, make sure you customize the form by adding:
- your school’s name (or PTO name) in the header
- the school’s name at the beginning of the letter
- your contact information (name/email/phone number)
- the school’s approved room parent definition and list of room parent duties to match your Room Parent Recruitment Flyer
You can have the Recruitment Flyer open in another tab to copy-and-paste the last section to make sure everything matches up exactly. 😉
This flyer can be printed or emailed to all the teachers (preferably before the first day of school) in order to give them an advanced notice of the new program.
BONUS – Sign Up Sheet for the Classroom
You can also customize and download this signup sheet for the teacher to keep in his/her classroom at Open House night. You’ll only need to add in your school or PTO name to the top of this sheet.
Recruit Room Parents at PTO/PTA Events
Email the Form to Parents
Since this form is already downloaded on your computer, why not have the school email it out to their master list of parent emails?
Most schools these days send out a weekly newsletter by email. Make sure the flyer is included and mentioned in the school’s newsletter!
Since you’ve added your contact information, parents are NOT required to print out the form if they don’t have a printer at home. They can contact you directly via email or text instead. ☺️
Send the Form Home on the First Day of School
At my daughter’s school, parents receive a thick packet of papers on the first day of school. In this packet, there’s a check box (in tiny print) where I indicate that I want to be room mom that year. That’s it.
Maybe that’s what signing up for Room Mom will look like at your school in a few years, but for now, you’ll want to make sure your cute, eye-catching Recruitment Flyer is sent home to parents within the first couple weeks of school.
Step 3: Organizing Your New Room Parents
As soon as you start getting parent signups, you’ll want a system in place for keeping the room parents’ information organized. A simple spreadsheet is the easiest way to do this! Here’s a template to keep on hand when that time comes: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1R-SV0S6lefFOJaDh8QN8Vox2gnzJfURCESROrUwA2z4/copy
I personally love Google Sheets for spreadsheets because you can easily share the file if you need to (just like I’m doing right now!). But if you prefer to use Excel, you can download a copy of the template in Excel file format. Here’s how:
Open up the link then go to File > Download, then select Microsoft Excel as shown in the screenshot below.
The Excel spreadsheet should start downloading automatically. 😊
When it comes time to email your room parents, simply select the emails in Column D, copy them by right-clicking, and then paste them into your email recipients section. Having all the emails you need listed out this way makes it super easy to send out those quick emails throughout the year. Plus, you only need to type them out ONCE!
Step 4: Communicating with Your New Room Parents (Let’s Write a Welcome Letter!)
Now that you have your room parents’ info organized, it’s time to start communicating with them! Whether you are planning on sticking to email communication or planning an in-person meeting with all the room parents, you’ll want to make sure you outline expectations right from the start.
Use this free Room Parent Welcome Letter to get started: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13Z-3KP9Kcx2gQc7khT98xWq_PRU-0mNCz4ZIwc_PdjQ/copy
Here are a few of the topics included in the template:
Class Email List
Let the room parents know when they can expect to receive their list of parent emails (and/or phone numbers). If the school has any policies about hiding parent email addresses (using the BCC function), make sure to let them know in this section.
Teacher questionnaires (sometimes called “Teacher’s Favorite Things”) are brief surveys that help parents get to know teacher’s preferences when it comes to gifts. It also gives the teacher a chance to list out any items he/she needs for their classroom.
We have a few teacher questionnaire templates here on the blog including:
All questionnaires shown above are FREE inside the Resource Library!
I personally love using these as a way to break the ice with parents in my room parent introduction letter. With this in mind, I always send out a questionnaire to the teacher as soon as I’m chosen as the room mom. You may want to instruct your room parents to do the same!
SIDE NOTE: Some PTA/PTO’s will issue their own teacher questionnaire to the teachers right at the beginning of the year. In those circumstances, the PTO will email the completed teacher questionnaire to the room parents one-by-one. Either way works great!
Introduction Letter to Parents
Remind your new room parents that communication is very important for their new role. A quick room parent introduction letter is the best way to set the pace for a successful school year. We’ve included a copy of our most popular room mom intro letter within the New Room Mom Welcome letter template. Your room parents can copy and paste the template right from your email.
Classes with More than One Room Parent
Sometimes classes will have multiple parents sign up for the homeroom parent position. Let room parents know how the school handles these situations. Do you assign a head room parent? Do volunteers split work equally?
However your program decides to split the responsibilities, be sure to encourage the room parents to work together. Team work makes the dream work after all. 😎
Use this section of the letter to highlight any upcoming events room parents are required to volunteer at or contribute to. We’ve included several examples, but you will need to customize these to match your school’s listed room parent responsibilities.
In addition, give new room parents extra details about the duties you listed on your Room Parent Recruitment Flyer in relation to any upcoming events. Add the corresponding contact information for any event coordinator in charge of a specific event mentioned on the list. This will help connect your room parents with the right people without having to go through you each time.
Your Contact Information
Overall, be sure to include your contact information (or the contact information of the room parent coordinator) at the bottom of ALL your emails. If you prefer to be contacted by text, let them know! Only want to receive emails? That’s fine too. Be upfront with how you want to be contacted by room parents.
Special Instructions for 2020-21
2020-21 is going to be an interesting school year to say the least! Make sure you include any special instructions given to you by the school administration for on-campus volunteers. If your school is going all virtual or hybrid learning, prompt room parents to reach out to their homeroom teachers to see what they can help with, even if it’s just moral support! ❤️
COVID-Related Topics to Mention (Examples):
On-Campus Volunteering – All volunteers are required to wear face coverings while on campus in accordance with the current recommendations of the administration and health officials. All volunteers must pass a temperature check upon signing in at the office. If you are sick, please stay home!
Cleaning – Lots of cleaning and sanitizing will be taking place this year! Please reach out to your homeroom teacher to see if you can assist in any cleaning and sanitizing in the classroom. You can also recruit parent volunteers to help with this effort depending on what kind of help your teacher needs each week. Every little bit helps your teacher so much!
Distance Learning – With schools maintaining distance learning this fall, your role might be a little different at the beginning of the year. Reach out to your homeroom teacher to see how you can support him/her during this time. Don’t worry about being tech-savvy, many of our teachers are not either!! Simply letting him/her know that you are there to help really means the world to them.
Virtual Fundraisers – We will be taking many of our biggest fundraising events online this year including the auction. Announcements will be made to all room parents as we get more details in a few weeks.
Customize the sections you need and remove any portions that don’t apply to your school. Copy and paste from the list above, or click the button below to make a copy of the 2020-21 New Room Parent Welcome Letter which includes the above notes.
Step 5: Keep Communicating
Communication is so so SO important for room parents. As room parent coordinator, strive to be a model of good communication for them!
Keeping yourself organized and planning ahead will help you stay on top of all upcoming events and which announcements need to be made and when. Grab a copy of this editable Room Parent School Year Calendar in the Resource Library to help you stay on track!
Throughout the year, be sure to utilize all the templates and printables available inside the Room Mom Rescue Resource Library. Templates make communication easy peasy (and fast!) for room parents. Use them!!
The Resource Library has TONS of free resources and continues to grow each week. If you are in need of a template or printable not found in the Resource Library, reach out to me! I’m happy to help create templates and printables that make your job as a parent volunteer easier. It’s truly my passion!
You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All things considered, I hope this post gave you all the tools and templates you need to start a room parent program at your school. Being a room mom has been such a fulfilling experience for me personally, and I’m THRILLED to hear more parent volunteers want to share this program with others!
As always, let me know if this post was helpful, I would love to hear from you!!
Happy room mommin’,
- Want to welcome back teachers and staff with a treat? Use this back to school teachers breakfast invitation to get teachers excited about the new year.
- What kind of fundraisers can we host during a pandemic? Check out these 2 websites that make fundraising possible during COVID.
- Ready to start an auction at your school? Learn how to start a live auction fundraiser from scratch.
- Need more parent volunteers? Use this room mom volunteer letter to get more help at class projects and classroom parties.
- Want more parent volunteer freebies? Get access to the RMR Resource Library filled with tons of free templates & printables to help you throughout the year!