No one knows a child better than their parents, and harnessing a strong working relationship with those parents is key, especially in early years education.
Partnering with parents is key to being an Outstanding school or nursery: Parental involvement needs to be identified as highly valued by the school or nursery and should be promoted through parents’ involvement in the planning and assessment arrangements, regular review meetings, workshops and stay and play sessions.
A two-way flow of information
The key to building a good relationship is communication and that’s especially important when you’re dealing with something as fundamental as a child’s early years education. Gather examples of ways in which you enable a two-way flow of information with parents. Look at them and explore how these might be improved. Communication channels might include:
1. Send out a regular newsletter
Parents often have a lot of information to process. Keep it short and to the point with important dates highlighted. Can it be done more visually? Maybe try a video message or include lots of photos.
2. Face-to-face meetings
Do these take place at times that suit parents? Do parents feel that you have time for them; that you’re not rushing to get on to the next one?
3. Informal chats at drop off or collection times
Is there one member of staff available to talk to parents while others are settling in the children? Do you have information, photos or displays on what the children have been learning?
4. Surveys, forms and requests for evidence of home learning
Can these be made easier for parents? Can they be done online? Do you offer guidelines or examples on what you’re looking for, particularly when asking for home observations?
5. Reading records or home learning diaries
Do you offer examples of how to fill these in to get the information you need to support the learning and development of the children?