Parent Volunteer Teachers

Classroom Yoga Breaks

We are in the thick of classroom yoga. This program is a section in the School Volunteer Handbook, which includes the free CD.   KSL filmed us on Monday, stay tuned for which day at 5 am you can catch it (or maybe I will post the link..) Many thanks to Julie Iorg, our wonderful volunteer yoga teacher who said, “We started today! YEAH! They too are a great school and I feel so lucky to be working with them! All of the teachers and students were so thankful to have the yoga breaks. They were excited and welcoming and each class truly enjoyed the break that we shared ..Thanks Yael for everything. As your yoga breaks are a gift to these children- it is a gift for me to share them!” free breaks on our website! 

Tips for Welcoming Volunteers into the Classroom

Here’s an article from Education World filled with ideas on how to welcome volunteers into your classroom.  It includes such simple things as being clear on what parents can do, how to invite them to participate, and tips for the parents.

Some Ideas from Arizona Volunteer

What’s Working in Arizona for Parent Volunteers is a good article giving some quick ideas about how to get involved, even with two parents working.

It reminds us that when parents donate some time to school, the kid do better.  You can download a parental involvement pledge to help get started.

Plan to Get More Parents Involved

Give your school volunteer a jump start for the new year… Karen Banturveris has written a good article on how to do just that: Plan Now to Get More Parents to Volunteer at School Next Year.

The article is full of common sense ideas — be flexible, just ask, tune in, and go wide. For ideas on how to do these things, read more!

Quick way to add your voice to education policy

Are you a busy parent who would like to find a quick way to make a meaningful contribution to school policy?  Try this: CONTACT THE OFFICES OF YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON, DC, about education issues that are of interest to you. A quick note can add your voice to the like minded folk who want to improve education. To reach your senators and congressional representatives, visit

Connect with Yourself

Here is a fun idea for helping kids, K-6, explore more about who they are and what qualities they think they possess.  Click on this link to get a free activity from the new book “School Volunteer Handbook:  For K-6 Teachers and Parents” (Lila Press, 2011).

More Ideas for volunteering

Some more ideas from School Volunteer Handbook (click here)

D.  Be Considerate: Common courtesy creates a positive experience for all.                                     


Be on time. In fact, always arrive ten minutes early.  It is better for you to wait a few minutes than for the class to wait for you.  By arriving early, you are sending a message to the students that what you are about to do is important to you.  And observing the class for a few minutes can give you some insights.  Be sensitive that teachers have daily plans that revolve around specific times.  If you are going to be late, call the school well in advance to let the teacher know.  Being reliable is an important part of volunteering. 


Make the volunteers feel welcome. Have the class ready at the time the volunteer is scheduled to begin.  Students can be reading quietly or doing some work that can be quickly put away.   It can make      volunteers feel unwelcome if they arrive at the agreed upon time and the class is in the middle of a project that will take 10 minutes to clean up.

Call the volunteer if the times change. Some parents arrange babysitters for younger children.  Be polite and let folks know in advance if class plans change.

Say “Thank you”. Remember to thank your volunteers.  Everyone likes to be thanked for participating – teachers, students, and volunteers.  Showing thanks can be done verbally or with cards or a note.  Where appropriate, it is a good practice to give the volunteers certificates of thanks at the end of the year at an assembly or a PTA meeting


Recruiting school volunteers at the district level

The Nashville schools have a good idea about helping students learn to read.  Individual support can be the difference between success and failure for a young reader. We know that if  a student doesn’t learn to read in early elementary school, they have a much higher risk of academic failure later one.  So the district website in Nashville posted a call for folks to help students:  “Make a difference in the life of a child! We’re looking for volunteers to read with elementary and middle school children who need individual support. Volunteers work with their student once weekly for 30 minutes each session. Please commit to a semester.”

Scholastic Tips on School Volunteering

Scholastic has some great ideas on how to maximize school volunteer experiences. In this article, you will discover good ideas on how to give your time — no matter how much or how little you can spare.

Just to get you inspired, think about the fact that studies  show that students whose parents volunteer  at school have a better attitude and higher academic achievement. Teachers who have classroom support do a better job.  It makes sense, so find a way!

Volunteers to Help Teachers Address Barriers to Learning


For example:

Volunteers Helping with Targeted Students
Every teacher has had the experience of planning a wonderful lesson and having the class disrupted by one or two unengaged students. Properly trained volunteers are a great help in minimizing such disruptions and reengaging an errant student.
When a teacher has trained a volunteer to focus on designated students, the volunteer knows to watch for and move quickly at the first indication that the student needs special guidance and support. The strategy involves the volunteer going to sit next to the student and quietly trying to reengage the youngster. If necessary, the volunteer can take the student to a quiet area in the classroom and initiate another type of activity or even go out for a brief walk and talk if this is feasible. None of this is a matter of rewarding the student for bad behavior. Rather, it is a strategy for avoiding the tragedy of disrupting the whole class while the teacher reprimands the culprit and in the process increases that student’s negative attitudes toward teaching and school. This use of a volunteer allows the
teacher to continue teaching, and as soon as time permits, it makes it possible for the teacher to explore with the student ways to make the classroom a mutually satisfying place to be. Moreover, by handling the matter in this way, the teacher is likely to find the student more receptive to discussing things than if the usual ‘logical consequences” have been administered (e.g., loss of privileges, sending the student to time-out or to the assistant principal).


Please use the link to explore the entire document and let us know what you think!

What We Like

When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress Disease Connection by Gabor Matte, MD (click cover) Wonderful and accessible insights into how our stress affects us, an important book for those working with children ~