On the evening of October 17 the Protestant Reformed Teachers’ Institute held a Mass Meeting at Fourth Church. One of the features of the program was a panel discussion on the topic: “The Role of the P.T.A. in Our Schools.” The panel consisted of Rev. R. Veldman as moderator, assisted by Miss A. Lubbers, Mrs. J. Veltman, Mr. A. Heemstra, and Mr. D. Lotterman. Mr. F. Hanko and Mrs. J. Moelker were unable to attend.
Fundamental to the discussion was the general history and purpose of a P.T.A. The first P.T.A. was founded in 1897 to coordinate the work of the home and the school in the education of children. It soon branched out to include a study of child growth, character development, school curriculum, and kindergarten. Its main purposes are 1. to promote the welfare of children and youth in home, school, church, and community. 2. to raise the standard of home life. 3. to secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth. 4. to bring into closer relation the home and the school; that parent and teachers may co-operate intelligently in the training of the child. 5. to develop between educators and the general public such united efforts as will secure for every child the highest advantages in physical, mental, social, and spiritual education.
Mr. Heemstra showed that as Protestant Reformed parents we must not only inform and educate our children but must mold and develop the spiritual characteristics of the pupil to prepare him to lead a useful Christian life. Such a task requires the combined energies of both parents. By being active together we can develop a much closer mutual relationship between home and school.
Since the Hope Protestant Reformed School has a P.T.A. and the Adams Street School centers its activities mainly around he Mothers Club and The Athletic Association, it was interesting to compare the advantages and disadvantages. The Hope P.T.A. meets four times a year although two of its meetings consist of a program and Open House. Adams also has Open House twice a year with an educational program included. The Athletic Association concerns itself mainly with the school’s athletic program. The purpose of the Mothers Club from Adams compares with that of any P.T.A. It usually has some children participation or a discussion on some phase of education at its monthly meetings. Financial support of the school is maintained outside of their meetings. With both parents attending meetings many vital aspects as child behavior, discipline, reading readiness, the science curriculum, etc., could he discussed.
With separate organizations an overlapping of aims and activities is noticeable. Yet, regular attendance of both parents is frequently a problem in a P.T.A. While if both parents are members of a P.T.A. there is a better understanding of the time, labor, donations, sales, etc. that the mothers are part of.
With the closing of the discussion, the panel realized that the education of a child is directly the responsibility of the parent. The school becomes their agent and they must see that the schools are fulfilling their purpose. That parents and teachers are dependent upon each other for a proper evaluation of a child. That parents must become acquainted with the curriculum and its needs. That parents must help to motivate the curriculum as in geography, history, and science. That the more parents feel their responsibility, the greater their interest will be, and the more eager they will become to attend an organization that combines the interests of the home and the school, the parents and the teacher in the education of children.