I work for an after school strings program which offers several hours of free violin and chorus instruction to elementary school students thanks to some grants and private funding. My question is that recently we have been battling with inconsistent attendance and early pickups. We have frequently advocated to the parents about the importance of music instruction and how much they may get behind if they are pulled out of lessons early, but there are still some that choose to pick up their students early. Our first inclination was to remove students who are not committed, but at the same time we do not want to lose our numbers due to scheduling problems on the parents’ sides.
While the majority of the parents are overjoyed with the opportunity that this program gives, some might view the program as daily day-care with music instruction as the focus. We want to make sure we can keep this program rigorous and focused, but also welcoming and understanding of the struggles that these parents are under. What are some ways that people have gotten around this problem of convincing parents to come late to pick up their children every day in order for them to participate in music?