Is your child a natural-born leader? Does your child have a special interest or passion to share with others? Could your child benefit from more structured social interactions?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then starting a school club might be just the opportunity your child is ready for. With guidance and support your child can start a school club, cultivate leadership skills, and have fun in the process. Here are five tips to get your child started.
(Note: While high schools and some middle schools have a formal process for starting extracurricular clubs, many elementary and middle schools do not. Use these guidelines to help your K-8 child start a new school club.)
#1 Make the Suggestion
In a casual conversation, mention the idea of starting a school club to your child. You can explain that a school club is a group of students who get together regularly and focus on a specific topic. Possible school clubs might be an acapella club, Lego club, frisbee club, or environmental club. The ideas are endless and stem from your child’s interests.
After making the suggestion, what’s your child’s reaction? You don’t want to force it. But if your child seems eager take the reins and start a club, continue following these steps.
Other possible ideas:
- Board Games
- Creative Writing
#2 Create a Proposal
Once your child has chosen a club idea, it’s time to write a proposal. Even if your child’s club is as simple as a Paper Airplane Club that meets once a week during recess, creating a formal proposal is an important first step. You can use the planning guide below to help your child brainstorm the club’s details.
#3 Present the Proposal
Once the proposal is complete, your child can request a meeting with a teacher or school administrator to present the club idea. This step is another great way for your child to develop leadership and public speaking skills. School staff members are likely to jump on board and support your child for their self-initiative and creativity. A staff member may even offer to sponsor the club by providing materials or offering a classroom as a meeting space.
If the club proposal is not accepted, your child can get feedback and use it as a learning opportunity. Perhaps the proper channel for a new club at your school is through the after-school program or the Parent-Teacher Association. Encourage your child to not give up and try a different approach.
#4 Promote the Club
After approval, your child should make flyers and hang them up around the school announcing the club and the important details. Your child can request to make a brief club announcement in each class or speak at an all-school assembly. If there’s a school newspaper, your child can write a catchy advertisement to promote the club.
It’s important to get the word out there, especially in a bigger school since your child might not meet that many people in a day. By promoting their club, your child will feel accomplished, and will make more friends with the same interests as them.
#5 The First Meeting
Prior the first meeting, your child can create a sign-in sheet and a simple agenda. The group can brainstorm club goals and activity ideas, and delegate leadership responsibilities if desired. The members can also decide if the club will have a community service component. For example, a comic book club might sell comics after school to raise money for a designated organization.
The first meeting is crucial though, because it will help determine the future of the club. If a lot of kids attend the first meeting, they should continue to show up and participate. If not, you might need to have your child promote their club more, or maybe change the subject matter to something with a broader topic.
Keep the Club Alive
One mark of a successful club is its longevity. However, as students’ interests and schedules change, it may be challenging to keep the club up and running. To retain membership, plan special club events such as watching movies or documentaries that relate to your club. You can also create bulletin boards or exhibits showcasing your club’s work. Be sure to actively recruit new members on a regular basis. Social media can also be used to post club photos, organize events, and blog about club activities. Providing snacks at club meetings will encourage membership and build community.
Another way to keep the club alive is to pass it on to younger students as your child grows older. This will ensure that even though your child’s interests have changed, there are still students out there willing to put in the work to keep the club running smoothly.
Why Start a School Club?
Starting and sustaining a school club is hard work, but it’s worth it. It teaches children leadership, flexibility, and organization, and provides a unique opportunity to connect with friends around shared passions. What school club could your child start tomorrow?