This post was Inspired by a question someone asked me on Facebook’s Elementary Counselor Exchange. The question was “How do you run your Peer Helper Program?” Here is the answer:
Procedures for Setting Up Peer Helper Program:
1. I introduce the program opportunity to the 5th grade students during one of my lessons. I tell them that we will be having a program where 2 students per 5th grade homeroom will be selected by their peers. I explain that this is a program where 5th graders will be helping younger students with sight words, math facts, and morning work in the first 15 minutes of each day. They vote anonymously for 2 kids in their class and the top 2 are the Peer Helpers. The kids get super excited about this leadership opportunity.
2. I announce the selected Peer Helpers on the intercom during announcements and send home a congrats letter to their parents (which also serves as a permission slip). I schedule a training session for the 5th graders. Here is the Training agenda and worksheet I have used in the past. We review helping skills, expectations, and do some leadership building activities. The kids also sign a Peer Helper Contract agreeing to uphold the responsibilities of a school role model.
4. I meet with the peer helpers one more time so that I can review expectations and assign the students their primary grade classrooms and show them where those classrooms are. We review the proper way to introduce themselves to that teacher (“Hi my name is ______ and I will be your 5th grade peer helper. What can I do to help? Which student(s) would you like me to work with?)
5. The students love to get their lanyards/name tags to wear.
6. The program is the 5th grader’s responsibility once I assign them to the younger grade classes.
7. We get together mid-way through the year and I have kids share what they have enjoyed, give feedback, and they also write reflections of what they learn from being a peer helper.
Each year I do something a little different with this group… but the format above is how the program typically runs. Contact me if you have any questions.