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Parents As Volunteers - In Nursery, Reception & Year One


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Morning all!


Couldn't quite make my mind up where to start this post so I hope here is OK.


Some months ago I sent out a questionnaire to parents of nursery and reception children asking how they would feel/ their opinion etc on volunteering in the early years classses.


The feedback was good with lots of interest, but with Christmas and the snow and a few personal issues and a degree to be doing I have woken up this morning with it on my mind, knowing the questionnaire was as far as I got!


I want to build further links with parents and strengthen them........ starting with my end of school and including year one


My thought is to host a meeting and invite any parents who are interested in volunteering to come along.

We could discuss/ chat/ look at power point re the role of the volunteer.

The discussion would give parents a chance to air their own thoughts/ worries too.

I would need to make it VERY clear to some of our parents about issues such as confidentiality and the legal requirements etc.


What I would like to know from you experienced folks is if you have volunteers in your nursery, reception or year one classes HOW do you organise it?


Do you have days that are specifically for volunteers ie Tuesdays each week?


Do you have a rota system so that you are not overwhelmed with parents?


Are all your volunteers CRB'd?


Do you encourage parents to stay in a very flexible way? To suit their needs rather than yours?


I want the finer details sorted in my head so that when I speak to my Headmaster I am ready for any worries he may have!


I appreciate we may have to iron out a few "creases" as we go but the fundamentals need to be right so that this does not fail terribly and the idea of parents as volunteers in the EY's is left to gather dust somewhere!!


I would be most grateful of anyones thoughts!!


Thank you x

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Good luck!

I am sure all your staff will be very grateful for the help but it must suit both of you---the teacher/class or the volunteer will not feel comfortable and useful and the volunteer as they are giving your their time and should not feel disadvantaged?


I have always made arrangements with the volunteer, but have never been in the situation of being overwhelmed with offers of help!


You may also need to think about the children, could they cope with their parent in school, are they settled enough to know their parent is in the building and will you ask parents to work in different classes to their children, would they want to do that? Also are there any issues re behaviour etc that actually are best kept to the school?

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Guest tinkerbell


I am in a school and we do ask for volunteers to help in classes but have very little uptake.

Last year a mum (teacher) offered to come in but I knew she just wanted to see what her little boy was doing in class so I said yes but she would do her morning in another class.She did and she heard children read which was a bonus for the other teacher and children.

Another parent comes in the afternoon to another class when they do art (no afternoon TA's) so she too is a bonus.

We have had parents in the past who have organised the library etc not actually worked with children

We have also had parents come on mass to help with projects eg ,gardening,murals,walking children to church etc


We ask that the parents do have a CRB check if they are coming into school on a regular basis

We also have a code of conduct for them to sign

We have a handbook too student/volunteer that informs adults of school procedures eg child protection/safeguarding is a big one at the moment


some authorities have training programs for parents who want to help in school.I could imagine it would be quite time consuming training lots of individuals


We are a small school and I have had some occasions in the past where parents have acted inappropriately eg

asking children when baking ,personal questions about their families etc

you do have to be very carful as to who you trust and the situations you put them in.



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As a parent of a child who went through reception last year, I would have loved to have gone into share a session, although i don't know if this is because I am working 'in the same business!'Lots of the mums I know would love it too.

There is no way on earth it would ever happen at my children's school which does become a bug bear sometimes, especially as at playgroup it was the norm and I do think it helps the whole family feel as if they 'belong'

One thought though some children may not be very happy when mum/dad have to leave - how about having it 9am until first playtime as hopefully the child will be enjoying the playground.


Good luck with it I think it's a really positive move, hopefully your parents will end up being parents that will support the school, for the whole of the childs time there.

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thumper rabbit is right we have weekly stay n play sessions and even children who are v ind start crying when their parents leave at play x

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but on the plus side they really appreciate getting to spend time and being invited into school which helps your working realtionship x

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Guest tinkerbell

If you are now talking about a stay and play session I think this is different to 'volunteering 'in school


I have run a play and stay session all last half term for 30 mins at the end of the school day,actually 10 mins before the end and 20 mins over.I have a tiny classroom which is a big bug bear but out of 22 children I get 15 parent and toddlers every time!! The children whose parents don't get to come mkae it to the last Friday in the half term look around the classrooms open session.


I sent a questionnaire to ask if they (parents) liked the session to see if I should continue it this term.....so many positive comments my HT has kept them! just one parent commented on the behaviour of some children.....this is a tricky one and I have talked to the children about this ,classroom rules apply!!! so no climbing on tables etc etc when mums and dads come in.

Anyway we have decided to do the session fortnightly now.Parents get to help their child choose library book and new maths game.



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i know it is different i was just agreeing with the point that sometimes it can be upsetting for the children when their paretns have to leave so its just something you need to consider.

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Scarlettangel I hope you do get some volunteers. Before Christmas I sent out a questionnaire asking if parents were aware of the structure of the day. This is on the newsboard anyway. Two parents commented that had never been invited to stay bearing in mind that they sent their partners to the induction visits with their children.This term I have sent an invitation to all parents inviting them to stay for a session for as long as they wish. I have had no offers yet.

I did first clarify it with Ofsted who said that as long as staff are never alone with a child and I state this in my policy they are happy.

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