Most times, the student volunteers in your classroom will be a family member. The next most common person to help in your classroom is a student intern.
Many High Schools have an Early Childhood Training Program and an onsite preschool program. The high school students in the program spend time in the preschool program to help them develop the skills they are learning in class in a hands on setting.
Many of these programs want their students to gain experience in their field of study off-campus for a "real-world" field experience.
As a preschool program, you can offer the venue for this to happen!
Student interns are not paid. The time they spend helps them to gain hands-on experience for their learning program.
Student interns are to be supervised by you or another qualified teacher. They are not part of your classroom ratio, but an extra set of hands.
This means they are not to be solely responsible for the children. They are to defer to their assigned classroom teacher when a child needs to use the bathroom or wash their hands; when behavior issues arise, etc. They are never to be left alone with the preschoolers as they are not staff members and are still in training.
As volunteers, they must still go through the state criminal record check procedure. Most high schools will run this state check before they enter the high school program.
YOU MUST STILL RUN THE RECORD CHECK THROUGH YOUR STATE LICENSING AGENCY!
Most interns will be assigned to your classroom for a specific time (one class period such as 45 minutes), once a week in your classroom.
You should talk with the High School Program Supervisor and set up a time that will best benefit your classroom and the intern.
For example, having a student intern arrive when your children are handwashing, bathrooming and having snack is not the best time. It can work, but it would be so much more beneficial for them to be there during Interest Center time!
If you have a student intern once a week for the semester, allow her to get to know you and the children the first two weeks by observing the classroom, the dynamics and observing you and your co-worker(s) with the children.
Spend time talking with the student while they interact with the children. Spend a few minutes before they leave to discuss the day!
Once you know them a little better, find out where their passion lies: art activities, dramatic play, science, etc. Then, suggest that they write up one lesson plan/activity for that area to give you the following week.
Review it with them. Ask questions: What are your objectives in this lesson? What do you hope the children will learn from it? How will you introduce it to the children? What materials/supplies do you need?
Set up a date for them to carry out the lesson plan! Observe and evaluation her teaching and give her and her instructor feedback on it!
Please, PLEASE do not waste this opportunity by having the intern do the "dirty work" claiming that they "need to know everything involved with teaching" by having them sanitize toys, rinse paint brushes and wash tables.
Let them work with the teacher to set up an activity, carry out an activity and interact with the children.
Plan a couple of times where they will work WITH a staff member to learn how to sanitize toys and why it is important.
This is a great opportunity for you to teach them about the importance of clean toys and behind the scenes things you do outside of the classroom!
Placing student interns in your classroom alongside a teacher provides a winning opportunity for the your preschoolers, the intern and the community!
Preschoolers LOVE classroom visitors! And, they LOVE teenagers! Interns are typically very enthusiastic and motivated to play with the kids at their level!
Providing a place to utilize the skills that student's have learned in class allows them to see what they have learned......in action!
Did you research shows that children who attend preschool have a 29% higher chance of graduating high school and will earn 33% higher salaries than their peers who do not attend preschool*?
Helping a student intern see and be part of what we do in the field helps them to be the preschool teachers of tomorrow.
They will be helping the next generation become more prepared to interact with the world around them!
Well, once you've contacted, or been contacted by, a High School Program to place a student intern, you'll need some tools!
Below are links to help you develop a Student Intern Policy and forms I think you should have in place.