Head Start Volunteer

Volunteers are critical to the success of Head Start/Early Head Start. The participation of volunteers has been an effective way of mobilizing community resources to strengthen services. Volunteers can be professionals and non-professionals. Parents can become volunteers and learn more about child development training and potential employment opportunities. Volunteers can assist with classroom activities, upkeep and renovation of centers, playground and other similar tasks. Volunteers may choose to give a few hours of time and may volunteer every week.

Specific Opportunities

Teacher Assistant

The Teacher Assistant will support the classroom staff in providing education and supervision for the infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children served. Position includes monitoring free play activities; cleaning up following meals; loading children on vans; supervising toileting and teeth brushing; preparing materials for arts and crafts; playing with the children; assisting with food services; feeding infants; rocking infants; sanitizing toys; and working one-on-one with small groups. The teaching staff is well trained, but are always in need of additional "eyes and ears." Assisting in the classroom decreases staff-child ratios and increases individual education.

Play Center Manager*

The Play Center Manager selects a familiar setting for a children's play center (i.e. a local grocery store, beauty parlor) and recreates that setting in the classroom. The Manager draws on community resources to make the center authentic. Play is the first form of representation that a child displays and indicates beginning stages of written representation. By playing in community-like settings, children have opportunities to connect play, drawing, writing and reading to familiar, authentic settings. A fun project for a group of volunteers or a family! Book Assembler* A Book Assembler cuts, folds and staples paper together to make blank books for children to write in. Bulletin Board Creator* The Bulletin Board Creator maintains curriculum-related themes on a specific bulletin board in the classroom. EditorThe Editor creates the center’s monthly newsletter. This person gathers appropriate information of interest and organizes it for distribution to center families. TypistThe Typist assists with the composition of letters to parents, monthly newsletter or classroom/center signs.

Children's Book Author*

Children's Book Author writes books for children on a variety of topics. Handmade books tailored to the needs and interests of individual children spark excitement and interest in children and provide them with books that can be kept in the classroom or at home.

Copyist*

A Copyist transposes songs, rhymes and children's books onto large chart paper so large groups of children can read them at once.

Home-Book Facilitator*

The Home-Book Facilitator organizes a classroom system for sending books home with children and assists the teacher in implementing such a program. He/She also facilitates the parent's lending library.

Literature Supplier*

A Literature Supplier donates samples of written test (i.e. magazines, junk mail, flyers, schedules) from the home or community to the classroom. The purpose of donating text from the home and the community to a children's classroom is to help create a learning environment that builds on what is familiar to the children.

Photographer*

The Photographer takes (and perhaps develops) pictures of children, class events and community scenes for the children to use as a basis for creating literature and for posting in the classroom setting (i.e. on bulletin boards). As children begin to make meaningful connections between pictures and words, pictures can be used to reinforce the relationship. Children can dictate stories and make books using cut-out pictures for illustrations.

Picture Collector*

The Picture Collector searches magazines, newspapers and other disposable paper items to find pictures, letters or words that the children can use for various projects. The Picture Collector cuts out and organizes the pictures into categories.

Reader*

A Reader reads books to individuals or small groups of children and engages the children in discussions about the story.

Rhyme Leader*

The Rhyme Leader teaches rhymes to groups of children. Song and rhyme are excellent ways for children to begin understanding how words and phrases work.

Scientist*

A Scientist investigates experiments related to different themes and leads children in conducting and discussing chosen experiments. Scientist experiments offer children new explorations and new contexts for using literacy skills.

Scribe*

A Scribe works with individual children, putting their oral stories into writing. An excellent way for children to observe firsthand the process of representing oral language with written symbols.

Song Leader*

The Song Leader teaches song to groups of children. Song and rhyme are excellent ways for children to begin understanding how words and phrases work. Field Trip Assistant The Field Trip Assistant helps the staff to ensure adequate supervision and safety of children during field trips.

Groundskeeper

The Groundskeeper assists with upkeep of the landscaping including the planting of gardens, flowerbeds and shrubs. This person assists with general repairs needed at the centers such as fixing a broken toy, changing a light bulb, or shelf.

Tailor

The Tailor assists the center by sewing curtains, costumes, items for the center or providing demonstrations.

* Adapted from descriptions written by Dr. Sue Constable, Center for Volunteerism and Community Engagement at the Charles A. Dana Center,University of Texas at Austin. ** Adapted from descriptions written by Curtis Montague, Center for Volunteerism and Community Engagement, Charles A. Dana Center, Universityof Texas at Austin.