Parent Helpers in the Classroom: How to get them and Keep Them

When I first started teaching most of my parent volunteers were stay at home moms.  Times have changed and the odds of getting classroom help is slim.  However, if I do get help I need to do everything in my power to keep it.
Parent volunteers-How to get them, use them, and keep them
Often parents will volunteer one time and then they never come back.  These parents are either scared off or they were just checking in to see what was going on.  For the off chance that they really did want to help,  It is my job to make them feel valued from the minute they walk through my door.
Image result for help wanted
I hope I can give you some tips and tricks to help you snag some parents and keep them all year long.

I have several methods for securing parent volunteers for my classroom.  At Back to School night I have a sign-up sheet to ask parents if they would like to help in the classroom and to list when they are available.

I also post a monthly schedule of when I need parents to come in.  These times are when we have our center rotations.  I let parents know that they will be working directly with students at a center. 

parents sign-up to volunteer to help in the kindergarten classroom.  This lets the teacher know if they have parent help for center time.

When parents arrive/leave... 
I always try to acknowledge their presence and welcome them to our classroom.  As soon as possible I let them know what they will be doing.  I make a point to check in with them to make sure everything is going as planned.  Before they leave, I thank them again for coming and ask if they are able to come again to help.

Other Ways to Help
For parents who aren't comfortable working with children, there are many other ways to support the teacher in the classroom.
  • Making copies
  • Sharpening pencil
  • Collating and stapling
  • Filing paper
  • Mending books
  • Reading to/Listening to a child read
  • Helping with Book Orders
  • Organizing...

At Home Help
For the parents who can't come into the classroom but want to still help.  I leave a box outside my door with an envelope of prep work and directions.  The prep work often includes lamination that needs to be cut out or books that need to be stapled.
parent volunteers, volunteer box, parent helper box
Often it isn't that parents don't want to help, it's that they don't know how they can help or they are embarrassed that they might not speak English.  I encourage my Spanish speaking parents to volunteer.  I let them know that they can help even if their English is limited.  Often just having another person in the room to sit with a group of students to manage materials is helpful.

I hope I have offered a few suggestion on how you can get, use and keep volunteers for your classroom.  If you enjoyed this blog post, please consider subscribing to my email newsletter. Subscribers receive tips and freebies  from time to time. that you will find useful for your classroom.

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