The Importance of Communication With Parents
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 developing.
Whatever the reason, a universal thread that’s applicable to all children in Early Years settings is the high level of communication that must be retained between parent/carers and their chosen childcare provider.
As it is widely known, communication is important for a variety of reasons.
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:
• 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 with 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.
• 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.
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.
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:
1. Communication Diaries
2. Notice Boards
3. Newsletters - emailed and hard copies
4. Daily Updates - text or email
5. Learning Journey
6. Parent forums
7. Activity days and special events where parents are invited into the setting to complete activities with their child.
8. Questions asked and discussion initiated during drop off and collection times
9. 2 Year Progress Check
10. Target setting
Engaged parents who feel well informed and involved are likely to develop a stronger bond with their childcare provider which has further benefits for the setting. For example, nurseries are privately owned and so the impression you leave with parents can play a significant role in the testimonials and mouth-to-mouth referrals that are received. This in turn will help influence the reputation that your nursery develops locally.
What's more, satisfied parents are more likely to raise issues sooner and coming directly to the setting rather than telling others, meaning you have the opportunity to put things right as soon as possible. As you can see professional, effective communication between parents and the setting can play a significant role in the overall performance of the setting and how a child develops.