Many Early Years educators in high quality Early Years provision will admit that, despite boasting collective teaching experience that far outstrips the Queen’s reign, the very best of us were plunged into a state of sink or swim when the pandemic hit. The role of parent partnerships, already firmly embedded as best practice in educational settings, catapulted even further to the fore. With remote learning and added pandemic pressures to this all-important relationship, open and honest communication between schools and parents was and still remains absolutely key.
Genuine parent partnership is a truly wonderful journey. It can be viewed as a developing relationship with great importance placed on valuing each other’s roles as educators and facilitators. Partnerships should be built upon mutual respect, trust and recognition of the contribution all parties make towards children’s development, impacting the child’s outcomes and wellbeing. Successful parent partnerships achieve consistency between the home and learning environment, creating a wonderful ‘home from home’ experience.
With a new school term around the corner, embrace the many opportunities a setting may offer. There is a plethora of ways to forge a healthy partnership which include:
- Requesting and snapping up a home visit. Your first introduction to the key teacher on home territory where your child feels secure is worth its weight in gold. It is often the informal two-way dialogue that provides the most helpful insight into your child. Don’t hold back – any questions are welcome!
- Investing time when looking at the school’s welcome pack or admissions paperwork. This offers unbridled opportunities to share your child’s story and the information you give offers a valuable background and starting point for staff to build upon. Let the enthusiastic team know of your child’s interests from the get-go.
- Engaging with your child’s learning journal, be it paper-based or online. Parents know their children best and have unique knowledge of their learning; your observations play a key role in allowing us to meet your child’s needs.
- Seizing opportunities to get involved – school trips, coffee mornings, parents’ evenings and social events are just a few examples. Sharing your skills, culture and traditions is a sure way of communicating your family’s interests and values. More importantly, if you feel comfortable at school so will your child!
- Sharing school information with childminders, nannies or other significant carers (if you have one) involved in your child’s learning experiences, and thereby extending the partnership.
- Taking up home learning challenges. These ‘next step’ opportunities extend your child’s learning, encouraging them to deepen their knowledge in the comfort of their home.
- Informing the school of your preferred communication system; schools are often flexible in their approach to sharing information so be confident and tell them which system works best for your family structure e.g. you may prefer telephone calls.
Ultimately, if strong partnerships are developed the children will be the victors; in an environment where parents and teachers work together with respect and where the child is at the heart, there will be a whole child approach to their learning, and the outcomes and attainment for any child will be immeasurable.
Written by Head of The Roche Nursery Schools, Gabriella Emery