A parent of one of my students received this surprise note from her daughter. This parent spends a morning each week helping in our classroom. In those hours she has many responsibilities, including prepping activities for the day, assisting or playing with children in various ways, reading with children and cleaning in the classroom.
I know how much it takes out of you to aid in a preschool class. Before I returned to teaching, I helped in my children’s classes. While it can be exhausting. I believe it to be a labor of love. I must note, and I fully understand, not everyone can or wants to work in the classroom. It might not be an option. That is okay.
What does a classroom aide do to help?
On the surface, it may just look like too much work. To me, the teacher, and to the child, it is much more than that. The aides in my classroom share their attention, their time, their expertise and their energy with ALL the students in the classroom, not just their own. They make children feel safe, loved, and supported. We lovingly refer to them as “aiding friends”. The aides help me create a calm, fun and hands-on classroom experience that we couldn’t have without their help. Plugging into your child’s classroom as an aide helps build community for everyone in the school.
The aides help me create a calm, fun and hands-on classroom experience that we couldn’t have done without their help.Marisa Downs
And how do aiding friends benefit? They get to know their child’s friends, the other parents and the teacher in a deeper way. They are surrounded by loving, curious, joyful and appreciative children who learn to rely on them. Over the years, aides have also mentioned learning phrases and practices that help improve challenging behaviors in their children. There’s a financial component as well, since we are a co-op.
In my opinion, the best part of aiding is the time invested with your child and in their education. By showing up in the classroom, our aides are communicating their values. It’s another way of saying, “Child, you are important and so is your education.”
Time flies and childhood moves quickly
Childhood is fleeting. The years of your child wanting you close fade away pretty fast (and we don’t get them back). Aiding in the classroom is another way of making memories, connections and demonstrating love for your child.
Thank you to all the aiding friends and helpers out there – You make a big difference!
Marisa Downs is a preschool teacher at New Morning School in Plymouth, MI. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.