Parents as Partners

July 28, 2017 9:57 am
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Parents as Partners: new mum, Kate Tarrant gets involved….

As a new mum or dad, it can be very daunting when it comes to understanding all the information that comes with parenting. I’ve had nearly a year to start ‘absorbing’, and if I’m honest, I think ‘grappling’ still best describes my progress with processing all the guidance you’re faced with as a new parent – dreaming about unexplained rashes and the pros and cons of dummies has become my norm.

Then, two months month ago, I was presented with a new challenge – choosing childcare. As I visited various childcare settings, collecting and comparing information, it became very apparent that aside from needing to implement a military plan into our household (change bag replenishment, bottle preparation, drop off and collection rota drummed into the other half’s calendar etc), I was entering a whole new world – a world where the word ‘EYFS’ whizzed about, along with its trusty companions ‘development’, ‘early learning goals’, ‘parents as partners’ and ‘assessment arrangements.’

What did these terms mean? Was I a bad parent for not already understanding these references? Where could I learn more?

After a week of panicking and a failed attempt at trying to comprehend the EYFS statutory framework (it’s 34 pages by the way), luckily my concerns were quickly put to rest. We picked a nursery and then embarked on a very thorough induction process with the setting. It was during these sessions that we met our Key Person who explained everything in easy to understand terms – what the EYFS framework was, why it was needed and how the nursery would plan activities and experiences to promote our son’s learning and development.

Over the coming weeks, our Key Person also explained the EYFS early learning goals and showed us examples of how they would conduct their observations and assessments, tracking our son’s achievements and progress. Importantly, our Key Person also guided us with lots of ideas for promoting our son’s development at home – simple, zero-cost ideas that my husband and I could try, and share with the grannies and granddads.

It was certainly a lot of information to absorb initially, but since starting nursery the staff have provided us with even more information in easily manageable stages – in newsletters and booklets for us to read in our own time and dates for our diaries so we can join in with nursery themed-activities, to informal chats at pick-up times and through feedback in communication diaries (which is great for my husband who works away). There are also an array of informative posters and displays, as well as suggestion boxes, online advice and flexible information meetings.

Our childcare has already become a partnership – my husband and I work with our nursery to help provide the best journey for our son. We’re encouraged to share our son’s experiences at home – days out we have as a family (including photos), important events experienced and new interests and skills learnt – which can then be implemented and reflected in activities at nursery. Likewise, our nursery has helped us to come up with ideas at home to complement activities from the nursery.

Overall, it’s been a far less challenging experience than I first imagined. And we look forward to continuing the learning journey….!