Parent Involvement at The Learning Tree
We have been caring for children and helping families on their parenting journeys for almost 40 years. We’ve learned over time that the relationships that parents form with others while at The Learning Tree often continue to deepen as their children grow and move on to neighborhood schools. Every year we have former students return to visit our special school.
All of the families that join our community are asked to participate on a parent committee of their choice. Most parents are very appreciative of the opportunity to be so involved in their child’s school, and we have found that the children benefit tremendously from the community and camaraderie that results from committee meetings and events!
The committees are primarily chaired by the parents, with the staff members being there to offer guidance, and the main purpose of them is to enhance the community spirit of our school. There are about 5 committee meetings per year and they meet in one other’s homes. We like to say that the meetings are 90% eating and talking, 10% business–really.
Each committee has a different function, and you’re welcome to join the one that best matches your current interests and talents, or branch out and explore something entirely new. Take a moment to read through the following descriptions to get a feel for what each one is about. You may stay on the same committee for all of your years here at The Learning Tree, or switch around every September.
Social Justice Committee
This committee helps to support The Learning Tree’s anti-oppression and social justice curriculum goals. We believe that the work to dismantle institutionalized racism and sexism begins with children when they are very young. The work of this committee will focus on social and cultural events that parents identify or design for our community to take part in. Every January we walk in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade in Seattle, too.
Parents who want to help us celebrate and explore our wonderful, diverse world should definitely join us. We’d love your enthusiasm.
This committee provides safety nets for our busy working families. Projects include baby-sitting trades on weekends, carpooling, single parent support, socializing outside of the school day, “Parent’s Night Out” evenings (nights when care is provided at the school for children and siblings while parents go to a nearby event/restaurant/place of fun), and new baby support. As other needs arise, we collectively meet them.
The Parent Support Committee also leads the way during Teacher Appreciation week in the Spring, coming up with creative and sweet things to do for our stellar faculty!
This is a great committee for you if you are interested in organizing opportunities for the parents at The Learning Tree to get to know each other better. In the past we’ve done bowling nights, coffee mornings at the school during drop-off, weekend playground gatherings, drumming circles, dance parties and more.
With relationships being the heart of our work at The Learning Tree, this committee has a festive yet very important role.
This committee focuses identifying and supporting a need locally, and making sure that their actions can involve the children, too.
In the past this committee has spearheaded projects such as collecting food or clothing to donate to local shelters, held book drives for children’s medical clinics, gone on field trips to sing at Fred Lind Manor (a nearby retirement home), and gathered then donated non-perishable goods to the Jewish Community Services food bank around the block.
This committee also organizes a Fundraiser Breakfast each Spring, which raises money to support an organization of their choice. The kids do the cooking!
Garden Committee and Building Committee
If you love to work with plants and get your hands in the dirt or if you have simple carpentry or home-repair skills, then one of these is the committee for you.
Part of the charm of our school is that it is in a cozy, older home. That key word, ‘older,’ means that it needs tweaking every so often! The school gets heavy-use and is in constant need of touch-up painting and screw-tightening. Even simple weed-pulling or bulb planting are things that we welcome help with!
These committees plan school work parties after consulting with the directors about what needs to be done around the place. Work parties are rewarding, yielding instant results! Children are with us during them, too.