‘Partnership with parents’ is a familiar phrase in Early Years settings where establishing a successful relationship with children's parents and carers is key to productive collaboration.
The Early Years Foundation Stage stresses the importance of this close relationship, at a time in a child's life when care and education are intrinsically linked.
It states parents 'are the child's first and most enduring educators', have a unique knowledge of their child and are also a great potential resource for settings.
But while parental contribution to children's development and education is undeniable, it is not always easy to get partnerships right.
Appreciating that both practitioner and parent has a distinctive perspective of a particular child that complements the other - and that neither 'knows best' - is the way to ensure both work on an equal footing.
Successful relationships become partnerships when there is clear two-way
communication, where parents and practitioners listen to each others views with the mutual goal of achieving best outcomes for each child.
The foundation to forming such a partnership requires nursery staff to be open, honest and realistic with parents - sharing positive information as well not shying away from raising concerns.
Establishing respectful relationships takes a lot of hard work and, to succeed, each family must be treated as individual, with practitioners needing to spend time getting to know them well.
It's also vital that staff support parents’ understanding of their child’s development and progress, which will ensure realistic expectations on both sides.
Some of the ways settings build parent partnerships include:
All about me forms
Completed with the parents when a child starts at the setting, these gives practitioners all the information they need about a child
Either a paper or electronic form written in by practitioners and parents to share information about a child during the day
Sent home regularly for parents to add any new achievements or experiences
Home learning sheets
Optional sheets with fun activities, such as games or songs, for parents to share with their children
Practitioners and parents have the chance to discuss, in depth, a child’s development
Interactive display boards
Prominently displayed, parents can add comments, photos or pieces of work
Keeping parents up to date with topic’s, events and learning within the setting
If you want to learn more about forming successful relationships with parents then our CPD short course Partnership with Parents, is the perfect learning tool.
The course is intended for those working in nursery settings and explores the importance of establishing partnerships with parents, how to make them work effectively and how to deal with any concerns or complaints raised.
Our CPD short courses are written by professionals and each lesson combines filmed tutorials, reading activities, quizzes and good practice examples for an engaging learning experience.
We are also running two one-day Partnership with Parents courses - one in Grantham and the other in Lincoln - later this year and in early 2018 through www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/eycc