Kids Group Part 3: Getting involved in the schools

Sorry for the delay, but life has a way sometimes of getting in the way of your bigger plans.   A while back I posted about our group, Skeptikids, and have also posted about finding kids and developing a program.  Let me summarize those two for a moment:  If you want to start a kids group that promotes science and critical thinking in your community, do NOT limit it to other skeptics, appeal to the general public!  They’re more receptive than you think.  Also, the key to a good program is to be well rounded, flexible, and share time commitments evenly so no one burns out.  Ok, moving on:

Getting involved with local schools is probably the easiest element of this, and yet it seems to be the most intimidating, based on the emails and phone calls I get.

If you have kids, the simplest thing to do is simply get more involved at the school.  If you can volunteer once or twice a month in your kids’ class, you will have the teacher’s ear anytime you need it.  Likewise, you should get involved with local PTO / SAC committees.  Get to know people.  When you are on a first name basis with your teacher and the principal and are known as a resource to the school, you will find many doors open up for you.

Another possibility is to have your local skeptic group sponsor a club that a teacher or other parent runs.  You can provide help with activities, maybe come in and do some demonstrations or magic tricks, help on field trips, but let someone already in the school sort out the administrative details associated with the school.

You will most likely have to get a background check, but the school usually handles that.

Finally, the most bare bones way to “get into the schools” is to simply call the principal or vice principal, explain what you are doing, and ask them to distribute your flyers.  They do it all the time for every kids group or special event there is!

Getting into the schools is easy.  Coming up with two or three monthly activities, spread out over the weeks and among the adults, is easy.  Finding interested kids is easy.  The only hard part is doing it!

Jason

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