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Swamped With Parent Helpers


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Hi everyone

I am in a pre school (sessional, church hall) and we have for many years had a calendar list dislayed for parents to write their names on if they would likes to come into session to help. Fine...we get the odd one per year (if we are lucky).

So what has happened - a new term - I revamped the calendar to make it a bit more colourful, and we have been swamped with parents putting their names down on it....great....but as I wasn't expecting such the over-enthusiastic response I feel a little bit unprepared -this is where you come in.

What can I give them all to do?????? in an ideal world I would love to give them a lovely printed handout of jobs/ways to help whilst in the session. BUT I don't want to put them off. have at the moment at least one parent a week.

I have already give them a little leaflet about the do's and don'ts for regulation things like fire drills etc. but I really really want something parent friendly and not patronising either

Please somebody out there - can you offer suggestions? My brain is in shock!

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Sorry can't really help but i just wanted to say we're the opposite, we have no parent volunteers, or no volunteers in fact and we can't afford to pay another member of staff. Since starting back last week we have had people coming in every day to put the children's names down for playgroup but they're having to go on a waiting list because we don't have enough helpers.

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Wow, lucky you, what a position to be in! You'd better post your new, revamped letter you did and we can see if we have the same success!!

 

Seriously, what a wonderful opportunity for your parents to participate in a nursery session alongside their child and see what learning is going on and what fun they have! In the resources of this fab site I'm sure there are a whole host of docs which outline what learning is going on and how to support that learning. From memory they are very pictoral and friendly....

 

As far as the practical jobs are concerned, do you have a PE session? My experience of trying to run a PE session is that the younger ones struggle to stay on task and adult helpers would be a real bonus! Have you given your parents a questionnaire to see if they have any special skills they can share, such as cooking or do they have a baby they could bring in and talk to the children about? Are they good at reading books with young children? (bet they are!!) Could they pull together some roleplay resources into themed boxes for you? It's finding the time to do it yourself that's always the problem and if the parent could do this during the session I'm guessing it could really fire the children's imagination too!

 

How's that for starters? Whatever happens don't make them do the washing up out the back, away from everyone - get them involved!!

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my daughter's playgroup have a parent rota but they limit it to 1/2 parents a session. They do struggle to get helpers but I do think it's because they don't have a colourful display!

 

They have sent out a letter stating what they would like parent helpers to do, clean tables, hand out snack/milk, supervise outside, read stories, help in the art area, writing children's names on their work etc!

 

Hope that helps

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Tell them they can do whatever they're happy doing. We had one parent years ago who only wanted to stay in the kitchen, she did staff drinks, childrens snacks, washed everything and anything and often took the t-towels home to wash too.

Have you got something that could be used to give them an idea of what each activity can provide learning wise? Ideas of things to talk about in the home corner, with the books, the dough, small world ect. Our parents find an area they comfortable in and start there, following the children as required by them, with some requestes coming form staff.

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Hi everyone

I am in a pre school (sessional, church hall) and we have for many years had a calendar list dislayed for parents to write their names on if they would likes to come into session to help. Fine...we get the odd one per year (if we are lucky).

So what has happened - a new term - I revamped the calendar to make it a bit more colourful, and we have been swamped with parents putting their names down on it....great....but as I wasn't expecting such the over-enthusiastic response I feel a little bit unprepared -this is where you come in.

What can I give them all to do?????? in an ideal world I would love to give them a lovely printed handout of jobs/ways to help whilst in the session. BUT I don't want to put them off. have at the moment at least one parent a week.

I have already give them a little leaflet about the do's and don'ts for regulation things like fire drills etc. but I really really want something parent friendly and not patronising either

Please somebody out there - can you offer suggestions? My brain is in shock!

Hi

what a lovely position to be in why not get them together and ask them to plan an activity together from beginning to end. They will have to take into consideration the health & safety, age appropriate, resources, cost etc etc.

Hope this helps i have learnt from Family Learning sessions in my own preschool. This has worked well, i got my parents making their own story sacks, they now come in and read them to the children.

Kezo

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DUH!! here it isRota_info.doc

Hi

i just looked at this and found it very helpful, i just usually have my parents coming in from the family learning side, but this looks good to use for a session in with hte hcildren too.

thanks

kezo

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We also ask our parents to sign a confidentiality agreement and a very helpful committee member has put together a laminated sheet we hand out to parent helpers on arrival, listing do's and don'ts. It's working well so far this year :o

Sam

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I agree with all the other comments, it's hard when you don't get helpers and hard when you do!!

 

Haven't tried this idea - but it only just popped into my head!

 

Instead of a date list asking for parents to help, why not put up an 'activities' list and ask parents to put down their name for particular activities?

 

ie.

 

reading corner

playdo

sharpening pencils

preparing paint/paper, etc.

sorting/cleaning toys

Cooking

role play.

 

love the list from myhenroxanne - you could incorporate that too

 

as someone already said, some parents might prefer to be more handy away from the children, but in our setting would still get a great view of our sessions.

 

There was also a good article in Practical Pre-school recently. June issue, if you can get a copy. There is a good Q and A for parents which covers some of the areas which might put some parents off.

 

We find that once they've been once they are much more likely to come again!

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Ooh I lke the idea of activities rather then days, that could work rather well. If we put a note up asking for help to walk to the library or patk, we always get enough volunteers.Before the holidays we asked for parents to come in and count the vouchers from the supermarkets. This worked brilliantly as the year before it had been so boring and time consuming and havong to be done out of session that none of the staff wanted to collect them again. We had a couple of different parents in over the course of a week, some stayed for couple of hours others for only 45 mins or so but it really helped.I think I may try your suggestion of activities and see how that goes

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We have had lots of interest this year but no names on rota yet.

 

I am ever hopeful so I made my own sheet to give the parents when they come.

 

Thanks for the documents they were really useful :o

 

I find that some parents just want to play while others like specific jobs I try to accomodate both. I love the parent help who doesn't mind washing dishes that is a real help!

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