Parent Helpers Handbook

Parent Helpers Handbook

We have produced this booklet as a basic guide for those parents and helpers who are kind enough to volunteer to help the children in our school.  The whole staff values your contribution to the children’s learning and appreciates your help.  We hope you find your time with us rewarding, enjoyable and informative.


Health and Safety


For a variety of Health and Safety issues, it is very important that we know exactly who is in the school premises and where they are.  We therefore ask that every adult who comes into the school does so via the main reception door.  There is a bell to press in order to gain entry.  Helpers must first report to the school secretary.  They will be given a badge and asked to sign the visitor’s book.  In the absence of the secretary, helpers must report to the Head Teacher before signing the book.


For your own protection/safety we ask that parents do not enter the classroom unless the class teacher is present


Unless you have received the prescribed LEA ladder-training course, and have registered in the parent helper register, you are NOT allowed to put a display up if it involves climbing.


Lesson times are as follows:


9.00am – 10.30am

10.45am – 11.55am



12.55 – 2.15

2.30 – 3.15/3.30


Break Times – Parents helpers have a designated coffee room in the Late Office and are free to sit and enjoy a coffee in there.




Whenever you are supervising children the following points will be of help:-


  1. You must NEVER be left alone in a classroom unsupervised or escort children around the school unsupervised
  2. Always treat children with respect and in the same sort of way that you would expect them to treat you
  3. Be friendly towards them
  4. Avoid shouting.  If you speak normally they will have to be quiet in order to hear what you are saying
  5. Tell them exactly what to do in as much detail as possible
  6. Don’t be afraid to quietly and calmly correct a child that is misbehaving but NEVER manhandle a child at any time.  If in doubt, speak to the nearest member of staff.
  7. Praise the children wherever possible.
  8. Do not let children become silly or over friendly with you.  They must learn to behave socially towards adults who are not close friends.  Encourage them to be polite to one another
  9. If you are concerned about a child for any reason, have a word with the class teacher or the head teacher – do not speak directly to the parents of a child

       This is the teacher’s job (see section on confidentiality)


Hearing Readers


One of the tasks that you will probably be involved in is reading with the children.  This is an important but time consuming task

The exact approach will depend on the reading level of the child


Beginning readers

  1. Children should be aware that you read from left to right, turning the pages that way and reading the lines left to right and top to bottom
  2. Read the book together to start with
  3. Discuss the pictures and story
  4. Read the book again pointing to each word as you read


Early readers

  1. Ask the child to point to each word as he reads it
  2. Discuss the pictures and story together
  3. Read the story together
  4. Ask the child to find key words, which are repeated several times in the book i.e  ‘the’ ‘up’ ‘in’ etc
  5. The children should be aware of full stops and that you need to pause at a full stop and not to run sentences together


Extending reading

As the children can read more words try to get them to work out new words by making a good logical guess.  Maybe the picture will help..  If the child has a good knowledge of initial sounds, looking at the first letter strings or small words within words, sound out the whole word e.g. ink in king


Try to get the child to read to he end of the sentence and then go back to work out an unknown word


Even with competent readers you should discuss the stories and pictures.  Also you can try to encourage the children to use expression or put on suitable voices


Discussion questions


The following are examples of the types of questions to use when discussing a story


What was the story about?


Who was the main character?


What sort of person was he?


Was that a sensible thing to do?


What should he have done?


Which part did you like best?


What would have happened if?


Try to relate some ideas to the children’s own experiences i.e.


Can you….?


Have you ever…..?


Using the Reading Record Books


When you have heard a child read please enter the page number that they have read up to.  You may put a short positive comment e.g. good, well done, etc but we do ask that parents and helpers do not put any negative comments in the books or suggestions of what the child needs to do.


If the child has changed their book, please write the title of the new book in the appropriate place.


Confidential Information


Occasionally in school you will become aware of information about children, which is confidential or private to the child or their family.  This is a delicate matter that requires a great deal of tact on your part.  Any information that leads you to believe a child is at risk should be mentioned to the head teacher.  But any conversation with parents outside is a breach of the schools confidence.  Even such a comment as “your Jimmy reads well” is not acceptable as other’s will wonder why you have said that to them.  It is very important to treat anything you hear or see in school with regard to particular children as being in absolute confidence and entirely a matter within the school.


Similarly you may find that parents who are friends will ask about progression or behaviour of their children in school.  Again, this is a matter requiring a great deal of tact on your part and it is very important that you firmly suggest that if they are worried in any way about their child then they must discuss the matter themselves with the head or the class teacher.


In case we forget teachers forget to say so please be assured we really do appreciate your help (we may be too busy or harassed to say so but we do!!)


If you have any worries or queries, or any good ideas on how we can improve something, please let the Head Teacher know – We are always willing to listen 

Click here to download a printable version of the Parent Helper’s Handbook.