How to evidence parent partnerships
Parent 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. This 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. There are many reasons why parent partnerships are so important for the child and it is for this reason that Ofsted will often require evidence that parent partnerships are taking place. They will also gather evidence on this by speaking to parents at the beginning of the day on drop off or the end of the day on collection
Why are parent partnerships so important?
- Parents know their children best
- It helps the child to feel safe and secure while in the setting if they see that their parents feel comfortable there.
- To create a shared level of expectation
- To information share about new levels of development, any concerns and any new likes or dislikes
- To keep up to date with what is happening outside the setting, especially if the home situation may be causing problems for the child
- Parents can feel secure to seek advice, help and support should they need it
- To make transitions throughout the setting smooth
- Improve practice and outcomes for the children, ensuring every child has their full individual needs met.
There are many other benefits to parent partnerships and all daily practice should be based around this. Every setting will do things in a different way and there is no right or wrong way to build relationships with parents. Many settings choose to create a parent parentship policy detailing the many ways their setting manages this.
How to evidence parent partnerships
Some of the ways settings choose to build parent partnerships and evidence this include:
- Daily diaries – This may be paper or electronic form and are particularly useful in baby room. These can be written in by practitioners and parents to share any information about how a child has been during the day or night such as feeds, if they have been unwell, meals and nappies
- Learning Journals – Some settings choose to send these home for parents to add any new achievements or special pieces of work and new experiences
- Sleep over bear – These are done in many forms but often have a bear with a sleepover bag containing pj’s, toothbrush and a diary. This can then go home with different children for an adventure and a sleepover. Parents can fill the diary in with photo’s or written entries
- Pets – Often settings have small pets such as a hamster who has a diary and can home with a child at weekends for a sleepover and an aadventure.
- Home learning sheets – These shold be made optional and not compulsory and contain fun activities, games or songs that parents can share with the children
- Book sacks – Books and accompanying activities that parents can take home and then bring back and swap
- Parents evenings – These allow practitioners and parents an indepth chance to discuss the finer details about a child’s development.
- Coffee mornings, cake sales, advice workshops – These can be held as often as the setting can manage and are an opportunity for parents to come into the setting and have a chat with key persons or for example speech and language champions, SENCO’s or the chef for ideas on healthy meals
- All about me forms – Completed with the parents when a child first starts the setting. This should give practitioners all the information they need about a child
- Two-year check – A great chance for multi agency working between practitioner, parent and health visitors.
- Interactive display boards – Where parents can add comments, photos or pieces of work
- Newsletters – These can keep parents up to date with latest topic’s, events and the learning that has taken place that week, month or term
- Progress summary sheets – Many settings choose to have a parent comments box on the end of these sheets.
There are many other ways to build parent partnerships and all are important to ensuring the best possible outcomes for the child are reached.