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Becoming a voluntary helper at primary

(20 Posts)
Harman Sun 11-Jan-04 12:53:42

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popsycal Sun 11-Jan-04 12:56:45

I think this is a wonderful idea and I am sure that your local school would be enormously grateful.
If you are unsure however, could you just say that you have monday afternoons free for this half term and see how you like it? Then you woudln't be obliged to continue if it wasn't working out....
I am sure that you would enjoy it....what do they do on a Monday afternoon/ If it is somehting 'arty' they will be extremely thankful for an extra pair of hands!!
Good luck!

SueW Sun 11-Jan-04 13:00:16

I don't vounteer in school but a fair few of my friends do. They do tasks as required by the teacher which may be listening to children read, one by one, or cutting things up for an activity or similar.

If your concern is that you are going to be asked to lead class activities or left in charge of a class whilst the teacher disappears for half an hour, it's extrmely unlikely to happen.

All my friends who can have signed up for a second year so it can't be too bad!

In terms of going back to work, voluntary work is great for easing you back in. I have done voluntary work for NCT for 5 years and it has just helped me get my first proper paid job since I left work eight years ago. I am now a paid worker for a local council for voluntary services and a few of the volunteers there are doing voluntary office work to build up their confidence and experience before going back to paid work.

hmb Sun 11-Jan-04 13:04:41

I have freinds who have done this and they love it. One is an older lady (children grown up with kids of their own) and she does lots of craft based things with the. She also runds a lunch time sewing club which is very popular. Others help with listening to reading etc.

I bet you would be great at it, and the school will be very greatful

Festivefly Sun 11-Jan-04 13:09:31

Harman, it actually depends on how your daughter will be. I did this and ended up watching my son more than anyone else. He played up he wanted to sit on my knee, it just wasn't worth it, i felt like i was at home looking after him, but couldn't really discipline him as there was a class full of kids. I'm going back in a couple of years

JanH Sun 11-Jan-04 13:12:09

I used to go in for half an hour in the morning and either take a small group out for an educational game or help out in the classroom - cutting things up etc as Sue says, or playing spelling games on the computer. It was always a Y1/2 group though, not Reception.

I first started when dd1 was in Y1/2 (she's 21 now), and did it on and off for years after that. It was great for getting to know all the staff and how things are run, also to get to know children other than those in your own child's year, and just generally being involved. The kids in "my" group would always say hello if I saw them when we were out, which was nice!

See if you could just go in for an hour or less to begin with, and explain that you're a bit nervous about it, so that if you do hate it you can stop. But it is different with kids who aren't yours and you might love it! Good luck.

jac34 Sun 11-Jan-04 13:33:41

I do voluntary work in my DS's reception class.
I don't work on a Monday or Friday, so when my DS twins went to school I felt a bit lost. I only help out on a Monday for 1/2 or whole day as required, so I still get a Friday to catch up with the housework.

I usually help with the Arts and Craft stuff, as it's more my kind of thing, I also think that is important, as so much of their day seems to be taken up with the curriculum, the teacher said they have so little time, to do things like Arts and Crafts anymore.

The teacher usually has a specific activity she wants the children to do, and sends them to me on the Craft table, in twos or threes. When they have finished, the next group come.

I find it very enjoyable, as it's the kind of thing I love doing with my DS's.
The boys love me being in their class !!!

Batters Sun 11-Jan-04 13:38:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

suedonim Sun 11-Jan-04 13:45:17

I've gone into school to help. It's been fun and not at all onerous. I heard children read (they like to tell you all sorts of little snippets about themselves as well), helped at craft classes and done IT with them - really basic stuff. The best class was when I went over to one little girl with her hand up and she just said 'Mrs X, I think you're very beautiful.'

Slinky Sun 11-Jan-04 13:53:05

I started doing this last year when DS1 was in Reception. It started off helping the class with their "glove puppets", basic sewing, gluing etc.

Then the teacher approached me to ask if I would continue helping but supervising outdoor play for Reception children.

DS1 is now in Year 1, and I was approached by the Early Years Co-ordinator to help out in Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2). So I now do this - supervising them with painting, junk modelling, role-play, building and construction etc.

Thoroughly enjoy it - and the children are great! I'd say go for it!!

My youngest is currently at nursery (where I work) but will be starting school in September. I am planning to spend more time in the school once she starts.

kmg1 Sun 11-Jan-04 14:21:08

I help out at dss' school one morning a week. I currently work 4 days a week, so it is quite a commitment/sacrifice for me too, but it is worth it. I love having an 'inside view' of school, and seeing what actually goes on, and getting to know many of the staff and children. We moved house/County 18 months ago, so I wanted to get involved, get to know people and children, and find out what was happening. I mainly do one-to-one reading. My motives are partly altruistic, but there's loads of personal benefits too ... for example I know what the 'average' reading ability is, and thus know how my children compare with their peers.

Our school have a policy, of which I approve, that you don't help out in your child's class. I would not want to do this, particularly with ds1. Last year I helped in the parallel Year 1 class, now I help in the year above.

You should be given some general guidance (safety, child protection, confidentially, etc), but if there's anything you're not sure about, just ask. Or if you're not sure what you can do to be helpful, just ask - the teacher will certainly point you in the right direction.

Schools understand that commitments change, and you don't need to sign up for life. If you don't like it, pull out. I hope you do go for it though, and enjoy it as much as I do. As I stated above I finally went back to work in November, but still wanted to continue helping in school as it is very important to me for all sorts of reasons.

Luckymum Sun 11-Jan-04 16:22:57

Have a look at the link on the thread 'for Robinw'...sorry haven't got time to redo it!

Harman Sun 11-Jan-04 18:15:17

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robinw Wed 14-Jan-04 10:40:14

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fio2 Wed 14-Jan-04 11:12:23

suedonim you must have been so chuffed

harman I would give it a go, if you dont like it just stop doing it. You never kjnow you may love it.

Kayleigh Wed 14-Jan-04 11:24:32

My mum does this and she thoroughly enjoys it. She had no further education and didn't work while we were growing up but now finds she has a lot of time on her hands.
She does two half days a week at my sons school and reads with a class in Year 2. She started when these kids were in reception and has moved up the school with them. My son is now in Year 1 and loves seeing her about the place. At times when the school are rehearsing for xmas plays etc she helps out with costiumes and stuff. Basically just mucking in and doing whatever she can to help.

I have also helped out on odd occasions and while i can think of nothing worse than looking after more than my two children, the kids are great and when they are at school they are (in the main!) well behaved. Also the school is really appreciative of the help which makes it feel very worthwhile.

If you don't try you'll never know. And as someone else said, if you don't enjoy it you just make your excuses and stop going. But you will probably love it.

harman Mon 09-Feb-04 22:48:43

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Carla Tue 10-Feb-04 06:34:44

Congratulations harman - glad it worked out. What did you do?

Hulababy Tue 10-Feb-04 09:00:44

Really glad to hear that Harman. Well done!

roisin Tue 10-Feb-04 14:34:53

Great news Harman - hope you continue to enjoy it.

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