Parents play a vital role in developing their children’s’ communication skills, therefore It is important that settings demonstrate effective partnership working with parents and carers.
Practitioners are in the best place to model good communication – take every opportunity to talk with children in front of their parents, during drop-off or pick-up times. This is the perfect opportunity for practitioners to demonstrate effective communication techniques such as using eye-contact, listening carefully and allowing time for the child to respond.
Here are some ideas on encouraging parents to have an active role within your setting:
Spend time building a relationship with parents – make a conscious effort to greet them, give some feedback and share information each day
“Come and have a look at this” – invite parents in informally to have a look at something the child has done – this will help to build a relationship with the parents and encourage parents to participate
Set up a regular time – maybe weekly or monthly – where parents can come into the setting and join in with an activity – try different activities to see what works best e.g. music session, reading session, messy play, cooking together or just stay and play
Help parents understand and know why you are inviting them into the setting and what they will be doing – some parents have a different experiences and understanding of what happens in an early years setting and may feel intimidated or daunted
Promote sessions as much as possible to parents, and speak individually to the parents that would most benefit, or might need some encouragement
Share a moment – ask parents to send in a comment or example of something the child has done at home – a ‘wow moment’ or a ‘proud cloud’. Celebrate this together.
Share an interest or skill – if parents have a special interest or talent, ask them to come in and share this with the children and talk about
Run sessions focused around different religious/cultural events e.g. Diwali, Eid, Christmas, Ramadan, Easter, Hanukkah. Ask parents that you know will be celebrating this event to come in and share cultural/religious items that may be of interest