Preschool Assistant FAQs

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Will I need special training to work with PRIME TIME?

New Preschool Assistants must be trained before facilitating for a PRIME TIME Family Reading Time session. When a new Preschool Assistant accepts a site assignment, they are also agreeing to attend the next available training workshop. Preschool Assistants who have worked on a PRIME TIME team before, must also re-train to be a Preschool Assistant if their training was five or more years ago.

Who participates in PRIME TIME programs?

PRIME TIME Family Reading Time programs target economically and educationally vulnerable families with children ages 3 to 10 years old. Program participants include parents or guardians and their children, as well as extended family members if desired. The Preschool component of PRIME TIME Family Reading Time is for 3-5 year olds and is designed to support parent attendance in the main program which targets 6-10 year olds by offering programming for younger siblings. If a family has at least two adults in attendance one may opt to attend the preschool session with their younger child. A PRIME TIME Family Reading Time Preschool Assistant can expect to have anywhere from 0-6 Preschool aged participants at each session.

Will I be taking care of toddlers and infants?

The Preschool component of a PRIME TIME Family Reading Time is a vital part of the overall program with its own curriculum and goals. It should never be thought of as babysitting. It is strongly recommended that children under the age of 3 stay with their parents in the main PRIME TIME session.

 When and where do PRIME TIME programs typically take place?

A PRIME TIME program consists of 6 weekly sessions, each being 90 minutes long and occurring on the same day and time each week. Generally programs occur on a weeknight between the hours of 4:30 and 8:30 pm. PRIME TIME takes place at schools, childcare facilities, community centers, libraries, churches and other facilities that serve a similar demographic.

Will I be working within a team or alone?

It is suggested that each preschool session have at least one volunteer to help with the programming and to assure there are at least two adults at all times working with the children. Preschool Assistants are responsible for recruiting and training volunteers to work in the preschool program. Once you have been trained in the program components you will share this knowledge with your selected volunteers so that they will be able to fully assist you as needed. This may require holding at least one planning meeting before the program begins aside from any meetings called by the Program Coordinator.

Should I do anything before the program begins?

Preschool Assistants are required to spend time preparing for the overall session. Preparing involves designing opening and closing routines, mapping out the space for the centers, acquiring materials for the centers, and planning accommodations for children with special needs. Other materials such as the Group Language Experience Book and the Picture-graph Questionnaires must also be prepared. Preschool Assistants are required to attend a team organizational meeting (organized by the Program Coordinator) 3-4 weeks ahead of the scheduled program start date.

 Should I do anything before each week?

Preschool Assistants must plan the discussions of the books that will be used during each weekly session and prepare questions and center activities that promote further exploration of the book presented. This can include songs, finger plays, art exploration and other activities that support the book-sharing experience.

What are my responsibilities during the program?

Preschool Assistants should plan to be present for the full duration of each program night (90 minutes) plus set up and clean up time (approximately 30 minutes before and after the program time frame). Once your preschool area is set up, plan on assisting the Program Coordinator with any remaining duties. During the dinner time you will hold a “book walk” for the children where children are invited to a table to explore and express their thoughts to the book of the week. Each week the Preschool Assistant shares one selected book followed by an age-appropriate discussion and facilitates centers exploration and a group closing, all of which comprise about 60 minutes of the program.

Assistants are responsible for modeling replicable storytelling and discussion techniques for participating families with fidelity to the program methodology as well as other strategies emphasized during training and in the Site Support Manual.

Assistants should plan to meet with the whole PRIME TIME team for at least 5 minutes at the end of each session to discuss what went well and what can be improved.

 What are my responsibilities after the program ends?

Ensure that the program coordinator has your name, mailing address, and social security number to pass on to the PRIME TIME staff for payment processing. Books used during the program must be returned to the program coordinator on or soon after the final program session. Materials purchased with program funds for the centers become the property of the programming entity.

How much am I compensated for my work with PRIME TIME?

In Louisiana Preschool Assistants receive a stipend of $50 per weekly session, or a total of $300.00, for six weeks. You will only be compensated for the weeks in which you are in attendance and perform your duties at the program.

What should I do if I am unable to attend one week?

The PRIME TIME Program Manager (LEH staff member) should be alerted as soon as possible if the PTFRT Preschool Assistant cannot attend a session or cannot complete a program. Work with your Program Coordinator to alert the Program Manager to find a trained substitute.

What should I do if I no longer wish to participate in PRIME TIME?

Preschool Assistants are asked to inform their Program Coordinator if they no longer wish to facilitate PRIME TIME programs. The Program Coordinator should contact the Program Manager at LEH with this information. You will be removed from the PRIME TIME database at LEH and will no longer be contacted with program assignments.

What happens if my performance does not meet PRIME TIME standards?

If, through observation, it is determined that a Preschool Assistant’s performance does not meet program quality expectations, the Program Manager will initiate the following actions with the goal of achieving improvement:

  • Email tips and suggestions for improvement
  • Conduct subsequent program observations
  • Assign a mentor to assist the Assistant
  • Encourage follow-up training

If the actions above do not improve performance, or if the Preschool Assistant chooses to not follow the recommendations, PRIME TIME will no longer offer program assignments to that individual.

 I have a friend/colleague who might make a good Preschool Assistant, what should I do?

We are always interested in meeting potential Preschool Assistants. Please direct them to your site team’s Program Coordinator or Program Manager who will work with LEH to determine when and how a new Preschool Assistant can be introduced.