Last year for my prep daughter’s birthday party I decided to have a whole of class party for the first time to see what that was like. We have had quite a few birthday parties in the past however never with that many kids. You can read all about that here …
One thing to note about her birthday party was it was at the beginning of April so towards the start of the year. One of the main takeaways for me after hosting this party was how great it was for connecting with the other school parents in her class.
For a whole term I had been waiting to pick Miss 5 up from her class at the end of the day and had spoken to other mums here and there but mostly stuck to the 1 or 2 I got to know early on. The great thing about having the whole of class party was getting the chance outside of school pick up and drop off to meet some of the other parents.
I did not know this was going to happen the way it did however it changed so much for me and my daughter for the rest of the year.
I remember coming to school the Monday after the birthday party and being greeted by so many smiles and hellos from the other parents and students. The great thing was it didn’t end there.
Having had a party at our home and inviting everyone to come along really opened up so many relationships with other parents for me and other children for my daughter. It was really extraordinary.
I say that because I did not do that for my first daughter when she was in prep. I do have other mum friends in her grade however it is quite different to what I have experienced with my youngest daughter’s grade.
There was never any major class gatherings outside of the pick up and drops offs for my older daughter and I never felt like I quite connected with parents and kids the same way I did after having the class birthday party.
So why am I telling you all of this.
I am telling you this because I think it would be a fabulous idea (particularly for prep classes) to organise some kind of class party / gathering outside of school hours if you are looking to meet and connect with other school parents. I am absolutely going to do this for my son when he starts prep in 4 years.
A birthday party was one great way to do it however that is dependent on when your child is born.
Nothing is stopping you from organising or hosting a class party as a way for everyone to connect and get to know each other.
Sometimes it can be hard to get people along to gatherings like this if it is not something they have done before so here are a few things I would suggest for success.
1) Make a formal invite sharing the clear intention of the gathering and make it seem like a thing you would want to attend (every kid I know loves the idea of being invited to something)
2) Having it at a home would be ideal as it is where people tend to connect the best however if that is not possible then there is no reason you can’t have it at a local park.
3) Ask everyone to bring a plate to share the burden of food if this is not something you are able to organise yourself.
4) Plan a few games and fun for the kids as a way to help them interact a bit more.
5) Make it on the weekend similar to a birthday party to give it the same kind of special feeling.
6) Make sure you intentionally use the time to talk to other parents in the class and get to know them better.
Having a class party at the start of the year really did change the rest of the school year for me and my daughter in a really positive way. I would absolutely recommend this as something to consider if you are looking at developing some great relationships with other parents in your child’s class which will become the foundation of years to come.