A lot of our families have already known each other since our kids were newborns. I am a co-founder of Harlem4kids- a non-profit that encourages early childhood education through storytime , special events aimed at our community and parental support in NYC. Still, while we tried to reach out to all families in Harlem, there were a large group that we hadn't gotten to know.
I knew a lot of parents and kids were excited and a bit nervous and thought a couple of get togethers before school would help us start to bond and create a strong group of committed parents. I know that top schools only become that way because of parents. relinquishing that responsibility AND relying on just the school staff is a baaaaaad idea.
PS 180 is a great school- have been involved in various volunteer aspects for the last three years- love the grounds, love the staff, a few things I'm not crazy about, but that's where parents come in right?
So I organized a picnic for all 50 families- thank god it was August and a lot of people were out of town! We had a third show up- about half of us knew each other really well- the other third from seeing each other in the neighborhood, the rest not at all. The PTA president came ( a real dynamo)and so did the parent coordinator (with whom I've become good friends).
The picnic was great- our kids made new friends. The parents were all brimming with excitement, ready to make a difference. This will wane of course, it will be interesting to see who is as involved at the end of the year.