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Making the most of parent volunteers

We all know that parents are an integral and important part of our student’s education. Having parents volunteer and spend time in the classroom is a great way to connect the two. Not only is it exciting for the students to see new faces in the classroom, but it is also always fantastic to have an extra set of helping hands! Parent volunteers can also help out in so many ways. From running centers, being guest readers, helping out at parties…there is no shortage of opportunities to get parents involved in the classroom! Make the most of your student’s helpful parents by bringing them into the classroom environment whenever you can!

Why Parent Volunteers?

Do you ever stop and wish there were more hours in your day? Or that there were 5 of you trying to corral energetic students, teach, practice and prep? Well, that is the perfect time to utilize parent volunteers in your classroom. Parents are such a huge part of student success and bringing them into the class can benefit and enrich the experience for everyone involved.

Preparing for Parent Volunteers

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So how can you go about asking and planning time for parents to come into the classroom? In this day in age, everyone is so busy, so making sure you have a set plan in place to make it easy for everyone is a must.

Before you ever start asking parents to volunteer, it is important that you have a plan on how you will use parent volunteers. This will help you to determine the number of volunteers you need in a typical week, and for special activities.

Begin by asking yourself these questions:

Having a parent work one on one with a student is a great way to provide extra reinforcement and mentoring
  • What things do you need help with in the classroom?
  • Are there copies or other prep work that need to be done each week?
  • What activities could use an adult to help explain, monitor or guide?
  • Is there a certain time of day you could use an extra set of hands?
  • What activities could someone else complete without a lot of help or explanation?
  • What special activities will we do that need extra adults?

Your answers to these questions will help you create a list of everyday and special activities that you could share with a parent volunteer. Every teacher will have different needs in their classroom, so take the time to think through your day and routines.

When to use parent volunteers

Parents can provide an extra set of hands for crafts and science experiments

You might be wondering what types of things parents can come in and help with. The answer is simple really..anything! You will have stay-at-home moms that want to come in and help run centers, techie dads that can help with technology and computer time, and working parents with a lunch break to come read to the class. The start of the school year is a great time to get to know parents and find out how they would like to help.

Every parent is different, some have many talents to bring into the classroom for students. Some may like to stay in the background and help with printing, filing, and copying. Everyone has different schedules as well. With so many different parents involved, you should be able to find volunteers for anything you could need!

Here are just a few ideas for getting parents involved:

  • Be a guest reader
  • One-on-one mentoring
  • Work as a playground/lunch duty monitor
  • Help run a center
  • Plan class parties
  • Help with parties
  • Attend field trips
  • Make copies and other prep work
  • Help with fundraising events
  • Sharpen pencils
  • Assist with messy crafts and science experiments

And the list goes on and on! Anything you need help with could be handed off to a parent volunteer. Think through the activity and make sure that you take a little time to train the volunteer if needed.

You never know whose parent is an expert at constructing science experiments or running games in PE! If there is a time of day you feel stretched too thin, that is an awesome time to bring in some volunteers. Students will love it and you will too!

Recruiting Parent Volunteers

Being a guest reader is a fun way for parents to get involved in the classroom

Once you know where you can use parent volunteers it’s time to ask! Allow parents to sign-up at Meet the Teacher Night or Open House. Send home sign-flyers or email parents as needs arise. So often, parents want to help but they just don’t know how. By having a variety of tasks available you can meet the needs of many different parents. Those who want to come in weekly can help in a different way than those who have one morning available. And . . . don’t forget about activities that could be sent home for that parent who wants to help but can’t make it in during school hours.

When a parent signs up to volunteer, make sure your times and expectations are clear so parents can plan accordingly. Take a few minutes to make sure you have everything pulled together for the parent. Any supplies or instructions they need should be easy to find so that the parent doesn’t have to interrupt the class to know what to do.

Having a plan, setting times and expectations will help the entire volunteer experience be a positive one for parents, students, and you.

The Power of parents

Parents are a powerful part of their child education. Bringing them into the classroom to assist is beneficial for everyone.

Students love having new helpers (especially parents) in the classroom, teachers love the extra help and parents love getting involved in their child’s academic education. It is a win-win for everyone!

Make the most of utilizing parent volunteers by having a set plan, set duties, and set times. This makes it clear and easy for parents to come in and make the most of their time in the classroom!

Don’t forget to show your appreciation to these parents. For many parents, making time in their schedule to volunteer is a sacrifice. It is important to show them how much you care and how thankful you are for their time. The simple gestures will have them coming back time and time again.

Save These Parent Volunteer Tips for later!

Make sure to save this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can quickly and easily find it later!

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