10 Ways for Working Mums to Help in the Classroom

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.

This article first appeared on Working Mums Collective and was later re-published in the Mornington Peninsula Kids Magazine with permission.



Here are my first tips!

1. 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).

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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!

5. 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.


6. 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.

7. 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).

8. Become a member of the ‘Parents and Friends 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.

9. 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.

10. 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 this year,
Lauren

11 comments

  1. Great first tips Lauren. As a teacher myself I do think the key is to be present at school if you can and get involved in whatever is needed. Kids love it.

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    1. I completely agree Annaleis - that is the first preference! As you read, I wrote this post for 'Working Mums Collective' with the aim of giving mums who work full time some tips on how they can feel involved in their child's education as well :)

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  2. I am new to school this year so these tips are very helpful! Thanks.

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    1. Glad to hear it Malinda. Thanks for stopping by :)

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  3. Great tips - I am looking at ways to be involved, but this year I have a newborn and no babysitter, so can't do the usual reading help I do. These are great ideas I can get involved in.

    Hello from #teamIBOT

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    1. Hi there! Love when #teamIBOT comes to visit my blog! Glad you found my tips useful - you've definitely highlighted another reason why it can be difficult for mums to help and be involved in the classroom.

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  4. I love helping at school, and thankfully because I've been a SAHM I've been able to. Hoping to do even more this year with my youngest at kindy.

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    1. Hey Jess! Nice to see you here :)
      Great to hear you've been able to help out at school - have a wonderful year!

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  5. Brilliant tips here Lauren! I love your entire back to school series... such practical tips that parents can really use and relate to. As a teacher, I love when parents are involved in the classroom. It is a great way to help out but also to get to know the other kids your child is spending their days with and the feel of the classroom. As a mum, my youngest is starting Kindy this year and I am looking forward to getting back into the classroom to help with reading and anything else. Thanks very much for sharing your tips!

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    1. Wow Anna - what a lovely comment. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my series. X

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