Classroom Helpers Program

Part of my role as the Literacy co-ordinator at my school is to run the classroom helpers program. The course comprises of three one hour sessions, focussing on how parents can help with oral language, reading and writing in the classroom.

This year there were around 30 parents who participated, the majority being parents of Prep children. The goal of the program is to ensure that the parents learn basic skills to effectively help children in the Literacy block, and also so they can help their own children at home.

It can be challenging to know exactly how to pitch the presentations, because I don’t want to overwhelm the parents, but it is obviously important they have some strategies to assist young children who are beginning the learning journey. Here is an overview of what I focussed on in the three sessions.

Classroom helpers

 

I used PowerPoint presentations for each session and gave the parents a handout of the slides. Below is the slideshow I made for the “Speaking and Listening” session.

 

 

I had the parents complete feedback surveys for me. It was very pleasing that everyone gained a lot of information from the sessions and they all commented that they feel more confident they’ll be useful in the classroom now. A few of them said things such as “I thought you should just tell kids the words they don’t know when reading” and “I didn’t know that letters should be written a specific way”.  As teachers, it’s important we don’t assume parents know a lot about how to help children learn. As we all know, having good parent helpers can be very valuable in the classroom, so I enjoy helping them build their skills to feel comfortable and confident working with young students.

 Do you run a classroom helpers program at your school?

What makes a good classroom helper?

  6 comments for “Classroom Helpers Program

  1. Mrs Kathleen Morris
    April 11, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Kelly,

    This is terrific information for anyone thinking about running a parent helper course at their school.

    I know from speaking to some of the parents that they just loved your course and felt so much more confident to help their children and other children after completing it.

    I have seen many parents just rely on the only strategy they remember from school “sound it out” when working in the classroom. This obviously isn’t going to allow them to help the wide range of students in a classroom complete a wide range of literacy tasks.

    Parent helpers can be extremely useful when they have some background and skills. Well done on offering a terrific course!

    Kath

    • Miss Kelly Jordan
      April 11, 2011 at 2:40 pm

      @ Kath,

      Thanks for your positive comments and feedback! Hopefully my post can help others who may be considering offering a parent helper course at their school.

      It is easy to assume that all adults will have some skills at “teaching”, but our experience shows that many parents resort to simply using “sounding out” strategies when reading with young children. This can obviously counteract all the work we do at school by discussing the variety of strategies good readers use.

      Hopefully more parents take advantage of the program in the future!

      Kelly

  2. Gina Coad
    May 18, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Hello Kelly
    I have been looking for a parent helper’s course book for literacy and I can’t find a copy in the school anywhere. Unfortunately our literacy coordinator wasn’t able to hold any sessions this year, and I wanted to reinforce some of the issues, especially confidentiality with new parents. I have found some excellent ideas from your presentation and I hope you don’t mind if I choose some to put into a handout for new parents. I look forward to your response.
    Cheers Gina.

    • Miss Kelly Jordan
      May 19, 2011 at 11:34 am

      @ Gina,

      It is important to inform parents about confidentiality and how to best help in the classroom, so you are very welcome to use any of my ideas. Perhaps if things are being directly reproduced, you could acknowledge my blog in your handout.

      Thanks for your support and I appreciate your comment!

      Kelly

  3. Gillian
    February 20, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Hello Kelly,
    This will be the first time our school will be running a classroom helpers program to our Prep parents.
    My principal found your website and we loved the information you shared, very valuable.
    My colleague and I loved the way you delivered the information to your parents. How would you feel if we referred to your ideas in our presenation? We would of course inform our parents where we gathered our information from.
    Gillian

  4. Miss Fiona Bylsma
    January 30, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Hi Kelly,

    Have really loved your section for parent helpers and it is very useful as we currently don’t use parent helpers in literacy and are looking to develop this area. Would it be possible to see an overview of your slide shows for helping with reading and writing- I wouldn’t reproduce but it would assist in putting together a parent info session at my school. Great job on your blog.

    Thanks
    Fiona

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