Dawn Burnham talks through the EYFS principle ‘Parents as Partners’ during a live webcast on Thursday 17th February 2011.
Please give send us your feedback on the webcast here.
Dawn’s Bio: With over 24 years working in the Early Years sector, Dawn was one of the first to achieve Early Years Professional Status and has established a highly admirable reputation in the industry. She is currently completing a masters in ‘Child Centred Inter Professional Practice’ and continues to advise Early Years organisations across the UK.
We have listed below all the resources that Dawn has recommended during the webcast for further reading on Parents as Partners.
- EYFS 2.2 Parents as Partners
- Ofsted Online SEF
- EYPS Forum
- Early Years Foundation Stage Forum
- Department for Education
- Penny Tassoni
Thank you for the great response we received after the event. Below are some of the questions answered during the live webcast as requested by viewers;
Nicola: How can we get parents involved who are not as forthcoming as others?
Dawn: Hi Nicola,thanks for your question. It can be hard to make connections with all parents and sometimes it is as simple as asking them how they prefer to be contacted and once you open up a channel of communication you can continue the dialogue and build on it bit by bit.
Guest212: What do you do if parents just do not want to be involved however much we try?
Dawn: Hi Guest 212, As with Nicola’s reply it can be difficult to reach some of the ‘hard to reach families’. Baby steps is what I suggest .Find anything that interests them from activities their child is enjoying to book bags with props and a book in to take home and enjoy together. Then build on that.
Dawn: Hi Trudi, thanks for your question, it came through prior to webcast and I didn’t manage to answer it during the webcast. You have asked about parents concerns about reading and writing. Well your examples of the kind of play you are providing to assist with muscle development and pre writing skills sound exactly right. Some publications that may help you professionally support your parents to gain an insight and further understanding to mark making and it’s importance are: Mark making Matter DCSF-00767-20
Faye: Hi Dawn. How do you feel about using new technologies like texting and websites to stay in touch with parents?
Dawn: Hi Faye, thanks for your question. I think it is the way forward as part of the communication package we offer our parents. Many parents have access to this technology at home, work and in their hands via their phones. This in conjunction with day to day direct feedback and any other forms of communication your settings has will only serve to enhance your parent partnership.
Guest243: What can be done to increase the uptake in male workers on the ground? Why do you think there is such a lack of male child carers in our profession?
Dawn: Hi Guest 243, thanks for your question. It has always been a long standing issue in Early Years. We all recognise the value of quality staff and a balance of gender in carers but it has been historically difficult to encourage male carers into this profession. You may enjoy reading some of the research that government has completed on this subject. DCSF may have a document, Nursery world and Parenta have recently presented documents on this topic and you may find your local county has information too.
Dawn: Hi Sajida, thanks for your question. Your question came through about parents who do not have a lot of time to stay and play. A quick tip is to open the invitation to all family members IE: grandparents. This has worked really well for many settings. It might be valuable to ask how parents in your setting would like to get involved and get many suggestions from the parents themselves. This will enhance any parent partnership you already have.
Dawn: Hi Ken, Thank you your question about parent involvement. It is hard when you have a large amount of working parents as the pressures on your parents can be tough, leaving little time for support in the setting. Have you tried asking for suggestions of ways your parents would like to share in your experience and the topics that would be of interest?. You can then focus on activities that you know parents really want to attend and share some enjoyable experiences together as a result.
Guest 417: At my setting we want to start using home/nursery books that include feedback on the child’s day, observations and photos of the child. Our only concern is how we can encourage our parents to make sure they return the books to the setting. Any suggestions on how we do this?
Dawn: Hi Guest 417, Thank you for your question. It is a really good idea you have to introduce a daily communication book. It may be worth introducing it to parents via and information leaflet/email. Explain what it is for, how to use it and give examples of the kind of content that will be found in it. Raise the profile of it by letting your parents know how important it is for their child to have that continuity between setting and home. Make sure your staff team are really on board. Expect to experience several parents forgetting the book. It takes weeks for a new routine to become a regular pattern .Keep up with it, it will be worth it.
Emma: Any thoughts on how we can increase attendance at our parent evenings?
Dawn: Hi Emma, Thank you for your question. Evenings for parents can be difficult some time. I would start with finding out a ‘good’ or ‘best’ time with your set of parents. Think about the issues they may have around coming out in the evening. Can/do you invite the children with them? Is there food and drink available to make the logistics of an evening out easier? Are you available at any other time if your parent can’t make it. These are probably the starting point questions to ask yourself, your team and ask your parents to see what would and wouldn’t work for them.
Guest136: Going on the parents evening we changed ours to parent consultations and arranged 5-10mins either when the parent drops off or picks up their child on a day best for them to have a chat and this seems to work really well.
Dawn: Hi Guest 136, sounds like you have found what works for your parents. Thank you for sharing this with us.
Nicola: Hi Emma and Dawn just a little suggestion as to what we do to entice parents, we have local companies coming to our parents evenings like childrens clothes sellers, we also had the local prep school come and have a little display for us, also we have a selection of cheese biscuits and juices available to parents on arrival.
Faye: Dawn. What’s the best way to prove how good our relationships are with parents during an Ofsted inspection?
Dawn: Hi Faye, thanks for your question. Ofsted will want to chat with some of your parents so they will gage a feel for your setting. The guidance I referred to in the webcast is really helpful as it takes you through the areas Ofsted will want to check. Your SEF will also inform Ofsted before they arrive of things to look out for. Then it’s your chance to expand on what you do and how you value your parents.
Dawn: Hi Tracey, Thank you for your question about the future of EYP status. I agree with your comment, it would be a really loss for Early Years for this not to continue. Sarah Teather has confirmed the government’s commitment to EYPS and that training establishments will continue to offer it. Intakes are now Jan 2012.
Thank you for all your questions sent in for Dawn. We would be really interested to hear your thoughts and comments on the webcast below.