We believe in small class sizes with hands-on activities (not demos) and plenty of individual attention for every child in the class. Some companies provide one instructor for up to twenty students.
We provide TWO adults for each 10 to 14-student class:
*two GrAd Lab instructors
*one GrAd Lab instructor and one GrAd lab aide
*one GrAd Lab instructor and one parent aide.
So the student-adult ratio is 7:1. Do any of your other vendors who do that?
Parent aides receive free tuition for their work. What are their duties? See below!
Frequently Asked Questions
- What does a parent aide do?
- What does it mean to “assist as needed” during class?
- What’s in it for the parent aide?
- What if the parent aide doesn’t want the free tuition?
- What if a child isn’t picked up on time?
- What if we can’t find a parent aide?
A parent aide attends every meeting of the class or finds a sub if s/he can’t make it. S/he:
*arrives five minutes early to help the instructor set up equipment.
*uses our roster to take attendance, alert parents of missing students
*spends the entire class period in the classroom standing, walking among students, assisting as needed
*uses our roster to dismiss each student to the right parent after class
*remains with any students who are not picked up on time (we charge late fees; and pay these fees to the aide. We also reserve the right to expel these students if this happens more than once, so it is very rare).
*helps our instructor put away equipment after class (this takes 5 minutes).
Parent aides will not have time for: leaving the classroom, sitting down, checking email, talking, texting or working on phones/ laptops, etc. Parent aides need to help all students, not just/ mostly their own.
Don’t worry – we are not looking for a programming whiz. The parent aide’s biggest duty is helping students find particular parts, helping slower students catch up, and in general, keeping order in the classroom so our instructor can concentrate on teaching. Keeping order means using our discipline policy: verbal redirection, verbal warning, very brief time-out in same room as activity, call home to the child’s parent during class to inform parent of difficult behavior.
A warm, fuzzy feeling. No wait, there’s more: Free tuition for your aide’s child. And obviously, aides who are in the class every week will learn more about their own children as well as a bit of engineering or programming!
Some parent aides choose to donate their free tuition to the PTA, which then uses that money to offer full or partial scholarships to others.
Ninety-nine percent of our parents pick up their students on time or within three minutes of the end of class. If a child’s caregiver cannot be located to pick up the child on time, the parent aide must wait with the child until a caregiver can be found.
We tell all parents in our welcome letter that we will charge late pickup fees of $15 for the first 15 minutes or any portion of 15 minutes after the official end time of the class. In practice, we are not likely to charge that fee for a first time offense of three minutes or less. Late pickup fees, less any collection fees, go directly to the person in charge of dismissal. If you’re the parent aide, that’s you!
If the fee is not paid, or if there is more than one late pickup, we reserve the right to expel that student from class with no refund for unused classes. Please let us know if your PTA has its own policy for late pick-up.
Why can’t the instructor stay late to care for children whose caregivers are late?
Many of our instructors have their own children to pick up and will incur a late fee, or face the prospect of having no one to care for their own children, if they must wait extra time after class to watch other parents’ children.
Nope. It’s actually fun. But it requires punctuality and one hour of the parent aide’s undivided attention (no cell phones! no sitting in a corner reading email! no leaving the room!) for each class meeting.
In our experience, the most helpful aides are the ones who step up the first time you ask. If you are having trouble finding an aide, please tell us ASAP so we can provide one if possible.