I am so thrilled to bring you this guest post today from Lauren, reception teacher and blogger at teachertypes.blogspot.com.au.
Lauren has been a big supporter of working mums collective and always has great ideas on her blog for activities to do with your little one and has been great for asking advice in preparing for my son starting school this year.
This post is particularly relevant for me and I’m sure many of you will get something from this.
I hope you enjoy this post from Lauren.
At the start of a new school year (particularly in Reception/Prep/Kindergarten – whatever you call the first year of school in your state) parents are always eagerly asking how they can assist in the classroom. Many duties actually working with children, or helping in the canteen/office/library happen during the school day, which often working mums cannot do. But there are other ways you can be involved out of school (or work) hours.
- Collect recyclable and craft items to donate to the classroom.
Ask the teacher if they have a ‘making box’, or if there is anything particular that they need (bottle top lids are great for alphabet letters, various cardboard boxes and tubes are great for design and technology, I use meat trays or other plastic containers for paint).
- Cutting out, laminating, gluing, sorting and other general lesson preparation.
These are quite tedious jobs for the teacher to do, so an extra pair of hands cutting out pictures, shapes, templates or art work is a huge help. And don’t feel that you need to take the whole pile! Even just a few make a big difference. Either pop in to the classroom to pick things up, or ask the teacher to send them home with the child over the weekend for you to do.
- Contacting/Covering Readers/Books
If the school purchases brand new take home readers, chances are they’ll want them to be contacted to keep them in good condition – this is another really useful job you can do from home. You could also offer to mend any damaged readers or books once a term.
- Attend Excursions
Try and find out when excursions (and other significant events) are booked for and organise a day off so that you can attend. Even if you can’t assist in the classroom on a weekly basis, most working mums can book the odd annual leave day to help out on a class excursion. Believe me – one teacher with 28 children at the zoo is impossible! The more parent helpers – the better!
- Parent Information Nights & Interviews
Some schools will have evening events scheduled such as parent information nights/interviews, twilight picnics, or Christmas concerts which are other important dates to have in your diary and will keep you in the loop of what’s happening at the school.
- Be organised!
There are so many things that happen in a school term – dress up days, special lunch orders, library day, PE day, etc. Keep a schedule, whiteboard or calendar somewhere in your home where you’ll be able to keep track of them all. If you aren’t going to be in the classroom week to week you many not see reminders for such things on the whiteboard, windows or notice boards.
- Share your interests with the teacher.
If you have a special skills eg cooking or music, organise a mutually convenient time for you to contribute to the class. Or you may have some ‘themed’ resources at home that you would like to lend (eg some interesting sea shells for an ‘Under the Sea’ unit).
- Become a member of the ‘Parents and Friend Committee’.
This role will probably only require you to attend a meeting once a term in the evening. You may also be able to become involved with fundraising, barbeques, etc as well as discussing important school issues that affect your child.
- Find out if the school or class has a website or blog.
We had one this year for Reception and it worked really well. It was a chance for parents to see photos of what the children had been doing at school.
- Communication with the teacher
If you aren’t able to regularly see the teacher before or after school due to your work hours, find out their best mode of communication – email, notes in the student diary or phone calls.
Finally, I thought I might mention, if you are able to do the morning drop off before work or the afternoon pick up after work – here are some other ways you might be able to assist in the classroom…
- sharpening pencils
- cleaning tables
- listening to children read
- take down/put up art work
- and I’m sure there are many more suggestions that your child’s class teacher can give you.
We heart parent helpers!
Best of luck!
Read more about Lauren in her Monday Motivating Monday Interview.
If you are looking for some activity ideas to do with your little one – please check out my blog.