The primary reason you have chosen to be a part of a cooperative nursery school and to participate in the classroom is to share with your child’s nursery school experience. This is a special opportunity for you and your child, so take advantage of it.

Relax   Play   Enjoy   Get Messy   Laugh

Go with the flow. As children move around the environment, move with them. You will probably be interacting with a small group of children most of the morning, though it is not necessarily the same group or the same activities. If a child seems lost, you may want to suggest an activity. Otherwise your role is not to direct activities, but to observe, facilitate, and extend play experiences to which the children are drawn.

  • Observe children at play: You will gain an understanding of their individual styles and the level of their interests and understanding. The greater your insight, the more effective and rewarding your participation will be, so keep your eyes open wide!
  • Facilitate Play: Join in! Try to be as supportive as you can without intruding. The younger the children are, the more help they will need in their physical care, social interactions, and play experiences. As a facilitator, you are taking your cues from the children and allowing them to retain control of their experiences.
  • Extend Play: Assist the children in their pursuit of interests and ideas. Stimulate curiosity by asking questions and enhancing the play. For example: Two or three children are playing in the dress up area. You sit close by and observe the dynamics. They are setting table, putting on hats, and washing dishes. They are involved but unable to cooperate very well with one another. You join them and facilitate their play by helping them define the game. Maybe they will cook you a meal and you will be served at the table. Your presence and conversation will help them to cooperate and enjoy the experience more. The game might end here or you may back out of the play while they continue playing restaurant with more props. Once they are actively and cooperatively involved you have done your job facilitating.

When major behavior problems occur, please inform the teacher, unless the resolution is very clear to you.

Tasks

Help Day Guidelines are conveniently posted in each room for your reference.

  • When you arrive at 9:00, you can help the teacher set up the environment: paint on the easel, water in the water table, toys in the sandbox, etc. The best thing to do is to ask the teacher, “How can I help you…What would you like me to do?”
  • Pick things up throughout the morning only if time allows and it’s appropriate with the other activities going on.
  • Escort children to the bathroom as needed. Ensure safety and cleanliness by being in the bathroom at all times while children are in there. Supervision is a must.
  • During group time, assist the children who may be having a difficult time listening or focusing on the teacher. If all is well, you may use this time to distribute artwork, clean art tools, and prepare the outside table for eating.
  • Post-morning cleanup is appreciated with so much to do: clean paint brushes, put paint away, empty trash cans, clean tables with disinfectant, sweep, vacuum, put sand toys away, etc.
  • Please share your talents with the teachers and children. We’d love to have your personal touch added to the day! Can you sing, dance, play an instrument, face paint, or tell stories? Please let us know!

Rules For Safety & Comfort

  • Children are to play in areas visible to the adults and no children should leave the area alone. Please check with your teacher on individual classroom boundaries.
  • Running down the hill often leads to a fall. Walk or pretend fly.
  • Sticks and rocks are dangerous when used inappropriately.
  • Friends don’t hit, bite, or kick each other.
  • Please keep socializing with other parents to a minimum during your class time. We appreciate you taking conversations to a picnic bench or parking lot, when not working.
  • Please do not use the playground or classroom time as an opportunity to use your cell phone. Your attention and focus need to be on the class from 9:00am until 12:45 pm.

For Your Information

A common mistake made by parents as they interact with children is to ask a busy child, “What are you making…What is that?”. Young children many times are not making anything when they are drawing, painting, etc. What they are doing is learning to grip a crayon or paintbrush and learning different strokes or movements with their fingers and hands. They are experimenting with colors and textures, and just having fun along the way. When we suggest to a child that there is a desired end result, we are taking away from the above process of learning. The process is much more important than the product. We want children to feel comfortable in their own creative expression, no matter how it turns out in the end. We like to provide children with many open-ended activities, which may not be aesthetically pleasing to a parent who is a product-orientated person. Some better types of questions are “Tell me about this…Tell me about the colors you used…Wow…look at this pattern over here…” etc. When you are at the playdoh or clay table, or drawing with the children, please let the children create their own things. If you start drawing a field of flowers how you see it, this may intimidate a child to draw their own pictures. Soon, you will hear, “You do it for me … I can’t draw a field of flowers like you can!” Please stick with simple drawings of patterns and designs; with playdoh or clay, use simple movements like rolling balls, smashing pancakes, etc.

To best help your day along, each classroom has a posted list of tasks that you can help with. Please review that list when it is your workday. And please, when in doubt…ASK!

Above all else, enjoy your time with your child, the class and teacher! Remember: Children learn though play. Thanks again for choosing to be active in your child’s hands-on learning environment!