I attended a very good training session last night about involving parents in their children's time with us here at Knutsford Childminding. I think we do a pretty good job of sharing information and asking for feedback - and so do our parents - but there is always more to learn, so off I went to Stockport after a 10 hour working day for 2 more hours of training!
The training was attended by a range of settings - I like it this way because I enjoy learning from other providers and we all do things in different ways. It started with an introduction about why it is so important to share information with parents and what the EYFS 2012 (and revised EYFS 2014) requires of us. We then talked about how we already share information and shared further ideas with each other.
We spent some time focussing on different challenges practitioners might have in their settings - from ensuring we communicate effectively with disabled parents or parents who do not speak English as a first language - to sharing ideas to enhance children's learning at home with hard to reach parents who don't have time to stop and chat.
It was interesting to see that all settings have similar challenges and to think about how we manage them so that we can share information with parents effectively without letting the barriers to communication get in our way. A variety of methods were suggested including -
- Face to face chats at the beginning and end of the day
- Newsletters sent out in each parents preferred way
- Using a translator if parents do not speak English confidently
- Texts and phone calls
- Daily diary booklets
- Wow moment cards that parents fill in at home
- Regular meetings
- Settings were keen on getting parents involved in walks in the local area and inviting them in to do gardening, contribute to activities or eat meals with the children
- Professional secure Facebook page or blog
- Displays for parents to look at when their child is being collected
- Learning Journey files that parents regularly read through and comment on
- Travelling bears or book loans to involve parents in their child's learning at home
... and much more!
The most important thing we recognised was that we need to engage parents and find out how they want us to communicate with them and respect their choice. For example, if we have an online way of sharing information and they never log on, we need to provide information in a different format for them... childminders have been downgraded at inspection for exactly that scenario!
Any training is good - it makes you reflect on what you do and how you do things - and it gives you ideas for the future. Even if you come away thinking 'I know all that' you can be smug in the knowledge that you are doing everything right!!
Chat soon, Sarah x