The difference is Parent Involvement - a rewarding chance to learn about and contribute to your children’s early educational experiences.
As one dad put it, “I love that I get to know the teachers and the other parents. They aren’t just people I see briefly during pickup and dropoff. It feels less like a transactional interaction, and more like a real community.”
Parents help keep the school humming in key ways:
Work side-by-side with teachers as classroom Parent Helpers
Engage in special events and activities
Join in workdays to improve our buildings and grounds
Serve on the IPCP Board of Directors and its eight committees
Parent Helper Days
Walk into any IPCP class, and you’ll see a devoted team of teachers — and a Parent Helper, an IPCP parent who assists during the school day. Our parents have been an integral part of the classroom ever since our founding in 1981.
Parents look forward to their Parent Helper stint as a unique opportunity to be part of their child’s day, help them in their activities, and meet their friends; our parents often report that their Parent Helper day made them better moms and dads at home. And children love it when their parent is at the school.
To spread the load, each family is required to fulfill a certain amount of Parent Helper Days per school year. The precise number ranges from 6 to 12 days and depends on whether your child attends 2, 3, or 5 days per week. Grandparents and other family members can play the role, too.
Events and Activities
From seasonal celebrations to social meet-and-greets, we like to get together. Here are some of our traditions to bring IPCP families together:
Back-to-School Night – We kick off the school year in August with hot dogs and kegs to swap summer vacation stories and meet the new families.
Hallowgreen Party – A spooky night in October where the children (and some parents) get dressed up and celebrate fall.
Alumni Play Date – A relatively new tradition, each fall we invite IPCP graduates back to have a big playdate in the Outdoor Classroom — a great time for families to reconnect.
Annual Auction – An IPCP tradition run entirely by parents, our largest fundraiser invites the public and IPCP families to come in from the February chill to bid on gift certificates, unique items, and activities for all tastes and budgets. Live music, food and drinks, and a live auction round out the night.
Grandparents and Special Friends Day – Provides an opportunity in April for the other special people in your child’s life to come and see the school. They’re invited for a picnic lunch to spend some time with your child.
Art Night – Each May, the teachers celebrate the year by pulling together a collection of the students’ artwork and putting it on display in the Outdoor Classroom. It’s a fun night with food and drinks and plenty of children running around playing.
Planting Days – Parents are invited to help us with Spring and Fall planting.
Buildings and Grounds Workdays
Another way parents contribute to keeping the school in tip-top shape is by joining the monthly weekend workdays to help maintain and improve the buildings, furnishings or grounds -- creatively called "Buildings and Grounds Days." Each family is responsible for two B&G days each year.
Each 4-hour shift starts at 9 AM or 1 PM (depending on the month). A B&G leader brings the worklist, and the parent "crew" gets to work. The diverse tasks range from installing new hardware to turning compost to pulling weeds. It's a fun way to give back, get some exercise, learn a new skill, and hang out with fellow IPCP parents.
All families are required to serve on a committee that contributes to a distinct part of the school’s operations. The Chairs of each committee serve on the Board of Directors. Committees typically meet once a month and divide up responsibilities. The current committees are:
Buildings & Grounds
Parent Education and Involvement
During the admissions process, a family has an opportunity to prioritize which committees they would be most interested in. Each family serves on one committee. When a committee meets, only one parent from the family is expected to attend.
In addition to these committees, the IPCP Board also has parent-staffed positions for President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary.