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Being involved in your child's education

As your children head off to school each day, you may wonder what's happening in the classroom. My children have been in the APPLE program for a combined total of 10 years now, and it has been a wonderful opportunity for me to see firsthand what goes on in the classroom, the playground and within the school. It has been a great way for me to meet other families, interact with teachers, and be a part of their education.

A.P.P.L.E. is an acronym for Alternative Parent Participation Learning Environment. It is the only program of its kind, existing within the Thames Valley District School Board. The program follows the curriculum of the school board, but enhances the students' (and parents') experiences by incorporating parents as volunteers within the classroom and in the school setting. Parents are required to volunteer for a minimum of 10 hours per month, and this can be accomplished through classroom duty; committees like Fundraising or Social; and field trips, meetings and special events like Field Day, or Carnaval.

I have been lucky enough to do most of my hours in the classroom setting. It has been invaluable in seeing how my children work with others and how their classroom environments can affect them. I have gotten to know the other students, classroom teachers and educational assistants. In the APPLE program, we have regular classroom enhancement meetings  in which parents and the teacher communicate about upcoming events, field trips and activities that can enhance the kids' learning and understanding. There are many social events throughout the year, organized by the parent volunteers, such as the Halloween Haunted House, Silent Auction and End of year Barbecue. Most importantly, to me, there is a real feeling of community in this program - you know the children in your child's class, and you know their parents.

Next year, as Brick Street School closes, the APPLE program will be moving to Arthur Ford Public School and will be offering enrolment in grades JK - 7. As a unique part of the Thames Valley District School Board, APPLE provides the kind of communication, organization and involvement that you, as a parent, may be seeking. Check us out at https://www.tvdsb.on.ca/brickstreet/apple/index.html