Volunteer Guide

Welcome from the Principal

Dear Laurel School Volunteers,

You, our volunteers are an integral part of our school. You add so much to the educational and enrichment experiences that our children have at Laurel and we appreciate you so very much.

This guide was created to help give you some guidelines about your participation We hope that these guidelines build your confidence and give you some direction so that you feel as if your time spent here has been worthwhile. Remember that there are countless ways of contributing to our children’s education, whether it be making phone calls, attending meetings or coming into the school.

Whatever you do, please know how much you are appreciated.

Introduction: Building a Strong Volunteer Community

We want to welcome you and help you make the most of your volunteer experience. As a volunteer, you are an important part of the Laurel community.

When you volunteer, you help:

  • your child
  • other children
  • teachers
  • administrators
  • the community

We encourage you to take the advantage of our volunteer training. It is a great way to meet people and get started on the right foot. Building a strong volunteer community at Laurel is a critical component to the success of our school and students.

Laurel is a very busy place striving to meet the needs of our students. It is important for all volunteers to remember the following:

  • Be responsible and safe–always put children first.
  • Respect confidentiality. Students and staff have a right to privacy.
  • Be professional.
  • Communicate.
  • When things come up and you can’t fulfill a promise, let someone know.
  • Ask for help–don’t suffer in silence!
  • Share your experience with others and encourage new volunteers.
  • Commitment – Once you become a volunteer, others depend on you.
  • Attend training sessions. They can really help you find your feet.
Getting Started

Before starting your first volunteer task, we ask all volunteers to be aware of the following points:

  • Safety – Act as a good role model for the children.
  • Always sign in and out at the school office.
  • Always wear a “Visitor” badge.
  • As a courtesy to others, please turn off cell phones while in the school building.
  • Complete any necessary forms and bring them to the office.
  • Always follow the correct fire safety procedures.
  • If you are taking food into the school, please check with the class teacher or school nurse because some food may be inappropriate for children with food allergies.
Approach
  • Be professional and be positive.
  • Strive to give each child the best you can and know that other Laurel volunteers do the same when working with your child.
  • Respect each child as an individual.
  • Respect your co-workers and all school employees.
  • If working in your child’s classroom, try not to single them out for attention as this may make them uncomfortable.
  • Do not distract teachers while they are teaching. If you have questions, wait until there is an appropriate moment.

Remember your time and energy is helping make Laurel a great place to learn.

Confidentiality

Here are some sample issues that can arise:

Wasn’t it cute when John…” No matter how innocent, cute, funny or charming a classroom event may be, it is not okay to repeat stories about students. What happens in the classroom stays in the classroom.

When parents ask you questions… Many parents are tempted to ask you about how their children behave at school. This is especially likely if you are friends outside school. It is not okay to put volunteers in this awkward position. Don’t ask! Don’t tell! If parents do have concerns, encourage them to talk to the class teacher.

When you see or overhear something… As a volunteer, you might see or hear things from staff or students which they would not want to have repeated outside the school. What happens in the classroom (or the hall, or the auditorium) it stays at school. If you have concerns about something you see or hear, please talk to the class teacher or Principal if appropriate.

When students tell you about their family, pet, vacation, etc… As students become comfortable working with you, they might decide to share something personal. You need to keep this information private, even if you know the child and their family outside of school.

When you have a concern… If a student tells you something that causes you concern, tell the classroom teachers. If you observe something that troubles you, tell the classroom teacher. The teacher is in the best position to deal with the issue appropriately.

Defining Different Time Commitments

Opportunities

Volunteer skills, interests and time commitments vary so we hope you will be able to find something that you will enjoy doing.

Classroom Opportunities

Some teachers may like to have volunteers help in their classroom or on field trips. If a teacher has volunteer opportunities, they may often be introduced at the beginning of the year but new projects can arise throughout the year. If you are interested in getting involved, a great idea is to send your teacher a note.

School-wide Opportunities

Laurel has many programs geared at enriching student experience outside the classroom. Volunteers might help at recess, in after-school programs, or in the library. Be sure to check out the range of opportunities, so you can find the perfect match for you!

One-shotsshort time commitments; special one-time events

Examples: Help at a booth on Earth Day or the book fair. Help out during recess one time. Put up a display of student art or a display for the library.

Weekly/Ongoingsome programs rely on regular time commitments

Examples: Help at the library, volunteer working in the Laurel garden, fundraising committee.

Projects – larger commitments that may span several days or weeks.

Examples: Help plan a talent show or organize an auction/fundraiser.

Listing and Description of Volunteering Needs

Auction (Project)

Assist planning a major fundraiser event for Laurel School.

Beautification (Projects/One-shot)

Help improve and maintain the grounds around the school building. Volunteers help with weeding, pruning, raking, seeding, watering and mulching.

Book Fair (One-shot)

Fall and spring fundraiser – Display books and organize books for the fair as well as assisting in sales of books.

Centennial Celebration (Project)

Volunteers needed to help coordinate, design, publicize, and work for Laurel School’s 100-year celebration.

Earth Day (Ongoing/One Shot)

Help coordinate and publicize the fair, or volunteer on the day of the fair. Fun booths offer a range of activities: arts and crafts face painting, games, bounce house, family fun and fitness.

Enrichment (Projects)

Help bring musicians, storytellers, actors, children’s authors, artists and other enrichment programs to the school.

Family Portrait Night Fundraiser (Project)

Organize and promote a night where families can take portraits together as part of a fundraiser.

Grant Writing Committee (Project)

Researching and writing grants to help raise funds for Laurel (e.g. technology grants).

Hospitality (One shot)

Help provide refreshments for school events or help clean up after.

Homework Club (Ongoing)

Volunteers lead early morning (before school) or after school homework review.

Kiss and Drop (Ongoing)

Help students exit cars and greet families as they arrive at school in the mornings.

Library (Ongoing)

Volunteers are trained to assist the librarian by repairing, checking in books or assisting students. Choose a regular weekly or biweekly slot. Volunteers also assist during the book fair.

Movie Night (Ongoing/One shot)

Help organize the event. Set up of tables, serve refreshments, and clean up after the event.

Office Assistant (Ongoing)

Assist in making ice packs, filling supply orders, putting together news letters or forms for home. Also includes helping with after-school ice cream sales.

Recess Helpers (Ongoing/One shot)

Volunteers help with fun recess activities (e.g. obstacle course, limbo).

Room Parent (Ongoing)

A full year commitment supporting classroom activities and teachers. Responsibilities can include assisting with flashcard drills, fluency, organizing class projects, field trip volunteers, and holiday events.

School Site Council (CEAC, ELAC) (Ongoing)

Attend monthly meetings and work on school initiatives.

School Directory (Project)

Volunteers create a voluntary school directory made available at the beginning of the school year.

Talent Show (Project/One shot)

Coordinate students for the spring talent show or help as a One shot volunteer for the rehearsal or the day of the show (set-up, clean up, backstage).

Try-a-Thon (Project/One shot)

Volunteers needed at different stations to help lead students in various physical activities (Examples: bean bag toss, balance beam, shooting a basketball).

Website (Ongoing/Project)

Help with the Laurel School website. Create pages about school events, All School Meeting or class projects.

Knowledge, Tips and Ideas

Although Laurel has many special traditions, new ideas arise each year. To make the best of both, we encourage volunteers to share their insights with one another, staff and School Site Council. If you see a better way to do something, don’t be shy to come forward.

If you have a great experience from another school, share with the staff your ideas about a potentially great fundraiser or exciting school-wide project.

Miscellaneous

Clean up

After you have finished any activity within the school, it is important to tidy up afterwards. For obvious reasons, scissors, glue guns, etc. should not be left lying around. Classrooms and other public areas should be left clean and tidy.

Parking

Unfortunately, the school does not have a huge amount of space for parking. Please use caution when parking on the street due to street cleaning.

Space

Laurel has wonderful spaces for volunteers to share. These include the auditorium, the stage, and the library. If you want to use any of these spaces for events of meetings, please contact the office manager in advance to request your space.

School Calendar

Laurel has a school-wide calendar. The aim of this calendar is to make sure those important school events and fundraisers are spaced evenly throughout the year. Please ensure that any new events that you plan are included on the calendar. Please see the coordinator for any special events you would like to plan.