Parents are seen as children’s first and most enduring educators and it is for this reason that partnership working is essential to plan effectively for a child’s learning. By working closely together and building a strong relationship, parents and practitioners can support a child’s learning and development both at home and within a setting. Here are a few of our top tips on how to create a strong partnership with parents:
1. Hold ‘stay and play’ sessions
‘Stay and play’ sessions are a great way to invite parents into your setting to see what children do. This could be tied in with significant events in your calendar, such as World Book Day. An Ofsted “outstanding” setting in Durham, called Rosemary Lane Nursery School, recently celebrated female carers with a ‘Cuddle up with a Book’ day where mums, grans, aunties and significant females were invited to come and share their child’s favourite stories. They were also treated to a cup of tea and slice of cake!
2. Make thoughtful gifts to ease parents’ worries
On the very first day of nursery, it can be an emotional and anxious time for both parents and children. One nursery in Rainham, Scallywags, have created a ‘parent pack’ which they give out to parents to ease the worry of this first day. It contains a poem, tissues, packet of coffee and a chocolate bar and it’s a really thoughtful way to reassure parents that their child is in good hands.
3. Use technology to your advantage
With so many parents checking their emails and social media on their mobiles, why not use technology to bring parents closer to their child’s day? Software such as Dayshare and Footsteps captures the day’s exciting events and milestones so parents receive updates whilst they’re on the go. As this information is stored electronically, this also ensures that treasured memories can be kept without the fear of potential loss/damage associated with keeping paper-based journals.
4. Introduce a communication tree
First Steps Children’s Nursery in Birmingham have a communication tree in their reception. They’ve put it to good use, stating to parents on their website: “We would like you to take one of the paper leaves and write on it what you like about First Steps and then hang it on the tree. If the children would like to take a leaf home and decorate it that would be wonderful too.”
5. Hold parent meetings
Scheduling regular parents’ evenings and meetings provides opportunities for key persons to share observations, assessments and planning with parents. This is an ideal opportunity for parents to listen and voice any thoughts, questions or worries they may have.
6. Use the power of social media
The power of social media is undisputed! And the most popular social media site is Facebook, which now has over 1.86 billion monthly active users. As it’s free to create a business page for your setting, this is the perfect way to let parents know what you’re getting up to and post updates of the children’s activities. If you’re worried about privacy and aren’t sure whether you need to create a Facebook page or group, you can learn more here.
To ensure a child’s learning needs are fully understood and met, practitioners must work co-operatively with parents. Using the tips above, you can help create a trusting and warm relationship with parents, which is central to successful partnership working.
Want to find out how our EYFS tracker software could reduce the time your practitioners spend outside the room, cutting and sticking? Speak to a member of our friendly team today!