Parents can be Helpful

Parent volunteers can be a great help or a huge distraction in the classroom. Parents can be a valuable resource to the teacher, the student, the classroom and the school. There is a way to involve every parent who wants to participate. The key to having an excellent volunteer program is organization and has high standards.

If parents are going to volunteer and be on school premises most schools now require a background check and tuberculosis test. You’ll want to get this information to the parents right away. If they do not pass the background check there are many things they can do from home that will still be helpful.

With your administrator develop a “Parent Volunteer Pack.” This will explain the policies and expectations to the parents. It sets a well organized tone for the program.

Here are some ideas of how parents can contribute to the classroom.

*Return books to the library or classroom
*Help children with homework
*Read with children one-on-one or in a small group
*Correct non-subjective papers
*Administer re-take tests
*Designing and putting up bulletin boards
*Helping on field trips
*Helping with art time
*Publishing the writings of the children in the class
*Help with preparatory work (cutting, coloring, and tracing, putting packets together) this would be an excellent type of project some one could do from home.
*Reorganize learning centers
*Set up science projects
*Sharpening colored pencils and regular pencils
*Watering plants
*Making photocopies
*Maintaining the classroom website. This is another project that could be done from home.
*Fill out book orders
*Teach the students a song
*Share a special talent or interest

As a parent here are some hints to make your volunteer time at the school fun and productive.

~Find out the requirements. Before you volunteer be sure you understand what is expected so there aren’t issues when you come to volunteer.

~Be on time. Although it’s not a job you get paid for, it is a job. Schools have a very tight schedule and they will be counting on you.
~Coach your child. Let your child know that when you are at school your name changes. You have to be Mr. or Mrs. So&So. Your child needs to know that you make be working with other children and not them. You need to help whomever the teacher assigns you to work with. This could be a hard adjustment for you and your child at first.

~Be flexible. Try and do what is needed. If you find you don’t enjoy the task. Tell the teacher, later and in private, that you would rather do something different next time. The teacher will certainly understand.

~ Remember, discipline is a job for the teacher or other school employees. It is acceptable to ask a student to stop unkind or unsafe behavior. Then let the teacher know about the situation.

~ Enjoy yourself. The students know when you are relaxed and having a good time and they will follow suit.

Having parental help in the classroom is one of those win- win-win circumstances. Everyone benefits, the students, the teacher and the parent.