Family Helping


During each class session a parent of one of the students in that class acts as “family helper”. The family helping responsibility rotates among all families in the class. Family helping not only assists the staff and school as a whole, it is a terrific opportunity for family helpers to observe the program, the staff, their child, and their child’s peers.

Guidelines for family helping include:

  • In keeping with Saxon Hill School’s cooperative spirit, YOU are responsible for your assigned family helping days. If you cannot work on a day, you are responsible for finding a substitute or arranging a switch and notifying the teacher of the change. You are responsible for family helping even if your child is ill or will be missing school for some reason.
  • The family helper provides snack. Sometimes the teachers will request a snack that is in keeping with a theme or skill. Families are encouraged to share traditional foods.
  • Our classroom is an exciting and stimulating environment for very young children. Younger siblings, especially those that crawl, require your time and attention and often distract from the group routine. Ask yourself “Will I be able to assist staff and children with my full attention and carry out my family helping responsibilities if I bring this younger child?” Please do not bring a sibling without first thinking this through and discussing it with the teacher.
  • Arrive at school FIFTEEN MINUTES early. Upon arrival, review the plan book and consult with the teachers about the days activities. Ask questions and state your preferences! Set up snack, putting drinks in pitchers and food in bowls or baskets. Refrigerate if needed.
  • During Meeting and Book time please join in! If your help is needed to set up an activity, clean off tables, or prepare for a project, the teachers will direct you. Children sometimes need your presence next to them at meeting or story.
  • During Journal and Co-Op Activities please GUIDE children with directions and tasks. ASK THEM what they are doing or need to do. Gently encourage them and extend their ideas via language. Encourage them to fill in spaces and add details. Encourage INDEPENDENCE. Encourage a child’s inventive spelling. Let them read to you!
  • During Explore/Choice time join in the play. Extend and elaborate via conversation. Help print names on artwork. Ask the children if there are any words they would like to say about their paintings or projects and write their dictation on the cards provided.
  • Please help children SOLVE THEIR OWN PROBLEMS. Ask them…
    What if…? What would happen if….? How could you…? I wonder if anyone here has an idea? What is the rule about…?
  • Please find a seat, join in Snack and participate in conversations. WATCH the children pour their own beverage and help them clean up spills. Model acceptable table manners and enjoy conversation.
  • While the students are preparing to go outside, you may begin clean up. If the teachers want you to assist students in dressing for outdoors, they will let you know. Otherwise, stand back and watch…you may be surprised by how independent most children are in dressing themselves!
  • Plan on staying THIRTY MINUTES after the scheduled end time to clean. Clean up after the morning programs includes sweeping the linoleum floors, checking bathrooms (cleaning if needed), checking classroom areas, washing snack dishes, and cleaning tables. Clean up after the afternoon programs involves, in addition to the above, vacuuming, mopping the linoleum, washing paint brushes, and taking out the garbage.