Woman sitting at a desk smiles during a preschool meeting with staff and parents

Should your Preschool have a PTO?

Most people have heard of PTA groups – but what is the difference between a PTA and a PTO?

Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) are formal membership organizations that require their members to pay dues – the group must also abide by state and national rules. On the other hand, you have Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO) that are usually single-school programs that operate under their own rules. These groups can focus on the matters of their school and sometimes their community as well.

What are the benefits of having a PTO at your Preschool?

  • How the student benefits – studies show that when parents are involved in their child’s school, their children tend to perform better (social skills and behavior included).
  • How the Preschool benefits – parents and teachers build strong relationships by working together. The school is also able to provide better quality programs for their students.
  • How the staff benefits – allows the preschool staff to focus on the children while the parents can focus on the fundraising, volunteering, etc.
  • How the parent benefits – parents are more informed when they are involved with the school. They can be informative to other parents who are not a part of the PTO and plan family friendly events such as Fall Festival or Muffins for Mom to celebrate Mother’s Day.

How can you start a PTO at your Preschool? It’s easy!

  1. Meet with the school administrator to discuss the idea of starting a PTO group – this can be a small group, combining teachers and parents that are interested in bettering the school and community. It is important to point out how the school, staff, parents, and students can benefit from the organization (feel free to use the bullet points above!)
  2. Once the school administrator is onboard with the idea, you can notify ALL parents and staff members. Hold a kick-off event for parents, teachers, students, and families. It can be small and simple – snacks and refreshments are always a bonus! During the event you can develop your mission statement and establish group goals.
  3. Ask for volunteers to be a part of the committee. The purpose of the committee can be organizing informational meetings, planning events held by the PTO, fundraising opportunities to fund the organization’s mission, etc.
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