Parent Helper Guidelines

About the Grant Park Cooperative Preschool

The parent helper day requirement is recalculated each year to reflect actual enrollment numbers and the school’s needs. The Parent Helper is one of the most important aspects of the cooperative nature of the entire school program. As a Parent Helper, you have three major responsibilities.

1. Provide support for the teachers and the daily activities happening in the assigned classrooms.
This includes playground set-up and supervision, assisting in the block and dress-up areas, and performing basic maintenance jobs. In the true Preschool tradition, come prepared to wear many hats: chef, artist, janitor, nose-wiper and teacher. Your experience as a parent has prepared you well for each of these.

2. Be with your child and share his/her school experience.
At first your child will probably consider you his/her personal helper for the day and may demand your exclusive attention. Tension, crankiness, and a tendency to cling are completely natural at first. Remember, your patience and affection for your own child may be the best "teaching' you do all day. Gradually your child will come to understand that, just as you have other responsibilities and commitments at home, some of your time at school will be spent in other classrooms and with other duties. It is helpful when you leave the class to let your child know where you will be and when you will come back to share in his/her activities. It is also perfectly acceptable to allow your child to accompany you while you perform the various duties of the parent helper. You are encouraged to share your personal talents on these days. Feel free to read stories, sing songs or organize special projects through appropriate staff.

3. Assist your teacher with documentation.

Documentation is an integral part of the learning process for the entire school community: children, parents and educators. It provides many benefits including the following:

  • Makes parents aware of the child’s learning experience.
  • Facilitates dialogue between parents and children about their investigations.
  • Makes children aware their work is valued.
  • Becomes a tool for children to revisit and rebuild upon their explorations and discoveries.
  • Becomes a relaunching tool for teachers to provoke children to explore their experiences further.
  • Enables the recognition of the emergence of projects.
  • Facilities communication and exchange among educators.
  • Creates an archive that traces the history of the school and the pleasure and process of our experience.

Note taking and photographs are very important in the documentation process. Notes can be taken while observing/listening to a child or children engaged in play or an activity. These notes can be the transcription of an ongoing dialogue between the children and/or the description of a particular series of events related to an investigation within a class. Usually there is a camera accessible in each classroom for use at all times. Please feel free to use the camera to record interesting interactions or investigations. These photographs will be used for future provocations and documentation panels. (ie. Children are involved in a dialogue in the block area about a construction they are about to build)

4. Provide snack sufficient to feed the classes with which you will be working. Generally feeding 10-14 children. Due to state regulations, only commercially prepared snacks are allowed. (A copy of the regulations is in the Director's office.)

Please bring enough snacks for the children and teachers of your assigned group. Make sure the snacks are appropriate for the youngest class in your group. Healthy, nutritious snacks are strongly encouraged and greatly appreciated.

Please ensure snacks are peanut-free. Due to life-threatening allergies of some students, this is a peanut-free school.

Snack Suggestions – No peanuts or other nuts allowed



Fruit/or Vegetables

Complex Carbohydrates

Cheese (cut in small chunks)

Bananas (cut in half)

Whole Wheat or Whole Grain Crackers


Apples (cored and peeled)



Pears (cut in sections)

Rice Cakes

Soy Yogurt

Oranges (cut in sections)

Bagels, cut in small pieces

Veggie Burgers (cut)

Raisins (not for the young)

Goldfish, Cheezits,


Peaches (peeled and cut)




Cereal or Granola Bars (no choc chip)


Grapes, must be cut in half



Melon, cut in small pieces

Whole Grain Animal Crackers



Whole Grain Graham Crackers

One-Year-Old class: please do not bring peanuts or nuts (due to allergies), hot dogs, grapes, popcorn, raw carrots or peanut butter crackers or sandwiches

Cookies, candy, chocolate, sugary sweets, and fruit roll ups are not appropriate snacks.

Water is available to the children for snacktime and throughout the day.