In relation to the importance of communication with parents in the EYFS, The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) seeks to provide ‘partnership’ working between practitioners and parents. It states that key workers should build ‘relationships’ with parents, keep them up-to-date with their child’s progress, respond to observations that they share, involve them in assessments and support them to guide their child’s development at home.
Parent’s have the right to play a central role in making decisions about their child’s education and care and their partnerships are key to a successful early years experience for children and for them to gain the most out of their early education and reach expected levels of development.
Over 70% of children’s lives are spent, not in a setting, but with their family and the wider community. Therefore home and community must be recognised as significant learning environments in the lives of children.
We have put this short article together for you so you can learn;
- Why communication with parents in the early years is so important
- Opportunities you can take to enhance communication with parents
- How to build good relationships with parents’/guardians
- How you can evidence your parent partnerships within your setting
Children attending nursery used to be commonly associated with parents being able to go to work. Recently, it has become more about children developing social skills, preparing for school and growing in an enabling environment. This is where communication with parents is essential.
A universal thread that’s applicable to all children in Early Years settings is the high level of communication. This must be retained between parent/carers and their chosen childcare provider.
Why communication with parents is so important
The responsibility usually falls to the key person to ensure an effective relationship is built and to share information at the beginning and end of the day and also at various other points such as meetings to discuss development.
As it is widely known, communication with parents is important for a variety of reasons and this is why Ofsted will often require evidence that parent partnerships are taking place.
One of the most significant, is its ability to break down boundaries between parents and the setting – and this, in turn, benefits the children in the followings ways:
- Parent’s know their children best
- Parents can be encouraged to discuss issues, talk about any concerns and get advice from Key Workers/Support Staff that has a broad knowledge and experience of child development.
- Parents can be engaged in the learning process. Evidence suggests this joint working benefits children who learn and develop better by having support with their child care provider and at home.
- To make transitions throughout the setting smooth
- It paves the way for open feedback where parents feel comfortable raising concerns with their childcare provider, knowing it will be heard and addressed in a comfortable environment.
- It can help keep children safe. After all, open communication helps with safeguarding and child protection in feeling safe enough to talk about any problems they may have especially at home.
Most importantly, if parents feel they can talk openly to their childcare provider, it brings peace of mind. After all, depending on the child’s age, nearly all information about what’s happened during their day will come directly from their Key Worker. And for many parents, feeling informed and still involved helps ease the emotions that can be associated with being away from your child for any length of time.
2. Opportunities to enhance communication with parents
There are many ways settings can engage and involve parents through communication. Here are some popular and proven techniques:
- Communication Diaries
- Notice Boards
- Newsletters – emailed and hard copies
- Daily Updates – text or email
- Learning Journey
- Parent forums
- Activity days and special events where parents are invited into the setting to complete activities with their child.
- Questions asked and discussion initiated during drop off
- 2 Year Progress Check
- Target setting
It is important to remember some parents are less well represented than others in early years settings. These include fathers, parents who live apart from their children, and working parents. This may mean that different strategies are needed for involving them and that consultation is necessary to find out what works best. Information should be provided in ways that are accessible to parents with basic skills, specific needs or those who have English as an additional language.
Our communication diaries are an excellent resource allowing parents and practitioners to communicate daily about a child.
The Early Years blog Nursery Nook rated our communication dairies 4 stars!
Nursery Nook said ‘As a simple diary it is effective tool from home to setting and would be useful for many parents who often want more information about their child, especially those who have children in care for the entire day. It would also be useful in cutting down some of the time required to communicate this information to parents at the end of the day when they are in a rush or when you have a lot of parents to talk to. It acts as a good scaffold of notes to make during the day and would be ideal situated where practitioners could add to it throughout the session.’
Click next page to view how to build relationships with parents …
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