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Assisting in the Classroom

What do I do when I assist in the classroom?

This is a common concern of all parents. As an assist parent, you have a variety of responsibilities. We’ll try to summarize them here.

  • An assist parent should arrive at least 15 minutes prior to class, and should bring the assigned snack or water.
  • The assist parent helps the teacher set up the classroom for the day by setting up chairs and choosing some toys to get out for that day’s class. (This is a fun opportunity to let your child make some toy choices). One assist parent should clean and re-stock the bathroom.
  • Once gathering time is over and class has begun, the assist parent should interact and help throughout the classroom. This could include helping with crafts, reading books to children, playing games with children, or escorting children to wash their hands or go to the bathroom. The assist parent may also help in resolving disputes between children, as long as the guidance policy included in this handbook is followed. If the assist parent is unable to or uncomfortable resolving conflicts, the teacher can be summoned to handle these situations. Generally, this is your opportunity to interact with the children while always being available to help the teacher as needed.
  • When the children go to wash their hands for snack, the teacher and one assist parent will help with hand washing, while the other assist parent will prepare the snack and water.
  • During any large-group activities, such as “magic science” or story time, at least one parent and sometimes two parents should participate and be with the children to help with “crowd control” as needed. Sometimes it is tempting to leave the group and get a head start on cleaning up the classroom, but remember the first priority must always be to assist the teacher with the children.
  • The assist parents are responsible for cleaning the classroom. This includes cleaning up snack tables, water bottles, sweeping, vacuuming, and returning the toys to their original locations. Often these tasks must be completed when the children are on the playground or after school is dismissed.

Other tips:

  • If you cannot assist, try to find a substitute or someone to swap a day with you. If you really get stuck, let your session representative know.
  • Remember to dress in clothes that are comfortable, can get messy, and are appropriate for the outside weather.

Assisting and being with your child in class is one of the joys and privileges of being in a co-op preschool. Have fun and don’t worry about remembering it all. The teacher and other assist parent are there for you if you have any questions or concerns.