1 Explain key research findings which show the importance of parental involvement in their children’s learning in their early years.
Findings show the importance of parental involvement, the most important factor is that the setting will have better knowledge and understanding of the child’s learning and progress, from this there can be sharing of information between parents/ carers and the setting about the child’s development, their learning and their interests. It is important for settings to understand this importance as the parents are the children’s first teacher and will provide valuable knowledge and information and should be viewed as equals. By promoting the parental involvement they can hopefully improve a child’s learning but learning together as a family, where they can support each other’s education and create positive attitudes towards learning in the family.
By providing encouragement for the child at home the parents can grasp a better understanding of how the child learns and how to properly support their development. By learning together it can also improve the skills and confidence of the parents, or possibly if the parents believe that their learning might also need to improve and it might be the motivation that they need to go and seek their own support. To maintain and support the parental involvement that has already been established by continually inviting the parents to get involved with volunteering or stay and play sessions. It is also important to understand about modern day pressures that parents have to deal with, for example having to work long hours and struggling to make the time to fit in with a child’s learning. As a setting it is important that support is provided so that the parents or carers can still provide enough support to the children without having to feeling guilty about it.
2 Explain the concept of positive home learning environments and identify ways of promoting and supporting them
A positive home learning environment is somewhere that develops the trust of a child, their attitude and their skills. This environment improves how a child learns and engaging them in their own learning in an attempt to reach their full potential. It provides the children with love and security which will in turn contribute to stimulating and encouraging them to flourish. Having the environment with home learning means it can improve the relationship between the parent and the child which can also improve the general parenting skills at home. This will lead to children having a secure and stable environment, more parent – child discussions and intellectual stimulation. We can promote and support this by listening and responding to children from as early as you can and including them into everything you can in an everyday life, this will mean explaining things that happen, describing things you see, feel, hear, ask open questions to the children to make them think about what they’ve experienced and make connections between it all.
They should also be presented with opportunities to independently explore but still allow for support if they need it. This exploration provides the children with their own real life experiences. These experiences could be from going on visits out or just from the everyday routine, they can also come from having the chance to play with other children. We can also support this by encouraging a child’s ideas and interests and praise them when the present their own thoughts. This will boost their self-confidence and their self- esteem. Another way is to keep storytelling, whether it’s just from a book, what you did at home during the day or from past life experiences, we can also encourage and praise any writing and mark making attempts that the children do. The stories can also be made through songs, rhymes and also by painting and drawing.
3 Explain why it is important to work in partnership with parents, including fathers
It is important to working with parents because they are the ones who will know the most about their children. They can provide details of a child’s earlier experiences that can help create a plan of learning. Having a relationship with parents can be beneficial to a setting as they can be asked for help, share interests and their cultures to enrich the children. These discussions will give the children a chance to see a different way of living opposed to their own, and will give the parents a chance to how the setting works. We have a parents as partners board so the parents can take pictures of their children when they are doing something special, for example if they’ve been on holiday, and we can put it up to show what the children have been doing at home, also we have a page in the back of their file so for big moments in their childhood we can write what the parents have said to us for example if they are potty training we will write that their mammy and daddy are so proud of them. It is important to involve the fathers with these partnerships as they are often not around to be included in the child’s learning.
With fathers stereotypically being the worker in the family, this means that they will often miss the drop off and pick up times and not get direct information from the settings. Getting fathers more involved with their child means that they can be role models for them and also be more involved with the child’s learning and be able to help when needed. You can involve the fathers more by creating events that they would find appealing such as sports days. You can also improve this relationship by having appointments and meetings like parent evening at times that they can manage. It is important that the staff at the setting are aware of the importance and train them in techniques to encourage this, for example using appropriate terms including everyone including dads and carers. You can promote the relationship by focusing on occasions for fathers like father’s day, and having male orientated trips like outdoor pursuits and building activities. When hosting events for parents it is important to not just have stalls and activities like cakes and books but to have prizes that are ‘male friendly’ like DVDs, fitness magazines, games or sports tickets
4 Explain the importance of clear principles and policies to support the engagement of parents in their child’s early learning
There are clear principles and policies in place to support parent’s engagement, this is so that everyone involved knows what is expected of them and why, and so that no one is left out of the loop. Having clear principles and policies makes sure the support is available for both the setting and the parents and allowing everyone to work efficiently together to promote a child’s care, development and learning. Principles that exist to engage parents in their child’s learning are to build and maintain relationships
with the parents. It is important for both the setting and parents to learn from one another and listen to each other and to take into account what the other side is saying.
As part of a setting it is important in principle for them to follow and respect what the families already do in their lives for example if they are a vegetarian the setting must abide by this and not do what they choose. This is also for the parents by following the policies set by the setting because this means that all the children are treated fairly. Another principle in engaging parents is by actively engaging those parents and carers, who wouldn’t normally interact with the setting perhaps because they aren’t available when the setting is, or perhaps they don’t enjoy the interaction but it is important that the setting make the effort to build a relationship with them to improve a child’s learning and development
1 Explain and demonstrate how parents are engaged as partners in their children’s early learning
When children come into nursery we ask them about their weekend and if their parents tell us they have done something special over the weekend for example going to the museum, or the theme park, then we will add this to their file into the parents as partners section. Also we have a parents as partners display board so the children can bring photos of their outings and we can put them up for others to see. When the parents come to collect the children we tell them all of the activities we have done in the day and inform them of any big achievements the child has done for example having a dry nappy and doing a wee on the potty.
2 Explain and demonstrate key relationship building strategies and/or skills involved in working with parents in partnership
We use many different strategies when building a relationship with parents, some of them are;
– Good first impression, This is important to build a good relationship and ensure you both know what is expected of each other when working in partnership, chatting with the parent when the child is on a visit, and getting to know about what their home life is like.
– Setting by time, Ensure we always have the time to discuss any needs or concerns with parents when the need it, if a parent needs to talk we can take them into the office to talk privately and will always make sure parents feel confident to bring anything up with us.
– Value their opinions, make sure the parents know that we value their opinions; have feedback sheets for parents to fill in or listen to the parents when they bring us concerns.
– Parents are experts, experts on their own children, make sure they know this and that we value their opinion
– News, whenever there is news or changes within the setting, be sure to let the parents know, either through letters, one-on-one discussions or open evenings. We have newsletters that go out whenever anything is changing within the nursery.
– Work around them, Do everything you can to work around the needs of the family. Such as working around a busy schedule or providing support for hearing impaired etc.
– Open door policy, the parents will be happier knowing that they can come to the nursery at any time, either to visit their children or talk to practitioners. They will be more comfortable knowing that we welcome them at any time.
3 Explain and demonstrate key communication strategies and/or skills involved in working with parents in partnership
There are many communication strategies we have within the setting to help with parents as partners, these are a few;
– Welcoming, for the setting as well as you; welcoming signs in different languages
– One way communication, newsletters and letters home, good for giving out information, should be support with 2-way communication
– Two way communication, when practitioners and parents have a discussion such as parents evenings
– Communication through technology, parents often do not have a lot of time, phone calls and emails may be preferable, parents can ring at any time to see who their children are.
– Adapting how we work, for parents with special needs or disabilities; use of Braille, large print, translators etc.
4 Explain and demonstrate a range of strategies that can be used to build confidence in parents as their child’s first educator
These are some of the strategies we have that can help us to build confidence in the parents;
– Meetings, By having meetings with the parents we can discuss with them how they feel as their child’s primary educator and for us to provide them with advice on how they can contribute to their child’s education
– Leaflets/notices, By providing an area in the nursery for the parents, such as a notice boards, we put any relevant information and leaflets there that may help them such as information on changing curriculum or leaflets on potty training.
– Newsletters, Personalised newsletters and files can help us provide parents with information on how they can help contribute to certain areas of the child’s learning as well as extending subjects we are studying in the setting to the home.
– Always be available, the best thing we can do to help the parents, is always be available to chat when they need us and always be willing to give advice.
1 Explain personal, social and cultural barriers to parents being involved in their children’s early learning
These are some of the barriers I think that parents have to overcome when being involved with their child’s early learning. Time
Parents often done have as much time as we might like to discuss their children and join in with our work, and the little time they do have is more often better spent with their children rather than talking about them.
Some parents may feel they have nothing to offer or their views will not be of interest and may lack the confidence to try and contribute Language and literacy needs
Some parents may feel uncomfortable if they do not speak English fluently or if they have trouble reading and writing English.
Parents may have a disability from a physical impairment to learning disabilities.
Some parents may not have experience of the culture of working in partnership and not know what is expected of them.
2 Explain and demonstrate a range of strategies to help overcome barriers to parental involvement in their child’s early learning
Some strategies to help with the barriers are;
– Home links book/sheets, These can provide an easy way for parents to see how their child is developing within the nursery, and to contribute with comments and ideas on a regular basis
– Emails, With security issues considered this can be a great way for parents and practitioners to communicate and share information and often photographs
– Phone calls, While not ideal these can be an effective substitute for face-to-face conversations
– Scheduled sessions, Parents evenings and such can be affective for updating parents about their children but need to be held at times when parents are available.
– Some parents may feel they have nothing to offer or their views will not be of interest and may lack the confidence to try and contribute
– It is important that we make our first contact with the parents positive and that we communicate in an open and friendly way.
We must ensure that we make the parents feel comfortable and that they know we value their opinions and knowledge.
Language and literacy needs
– It is important that we make the parents feel as comfortable as possible and explore options to help them such as suggesting they bring an interpreter along or perhaps we provide alternatives to written information and avoid putting them on the spot to read or write.
– It is important that we treat each case individually and tailor the service we provide to what the carer needs. For instance a visually impaired carer may wish for information through large print or voice messaging. These should be discussed with carers for each individual case and solutions should be reached together.
– It is important we explain to parents at the start how working in partnership works and what we expect of them. We must ensure they understand and if they have trouble that we try different approaches to explain it. We make sure the parents are comfortable with their responsibilities and that they know we are there for support.
3 Explain how attitudes can be barriers to engaging parents in their children’s early learning
It is important that as practitioners we have a positive attitude towards working in partnership; if the parents suspect that we don’t believe in the partnership they will not wish to participate, they will be hesitant to open up and it is the child’s development that will suffer. It is important that we keep an open mind when communicating with parents and that we take all views and opinions into account; parents who feel judged or discriminated will not wish to participate and the development of the child as well as their own parenting may suffer. I always have a positive attitude when talking to parents and I talk to them about what their child has been up to in the day, I could improve my relationship with parents by talking to them for longer and asking more questions about their home life.
1 Explain culturally sensitive ways of working with parents to help them provide appropriate support for their children’s early learning
These are some of the ways we can work with parents to help with their culture in their early learning;
– Research, To understand the various cultures that may come to your setting
– Teaching, with permission/help from families we can help the children understand different cultures and help families feel more welcome
– Food, Take into account the food restrictions that come with different cultures and be sensitive to that when their children are in
– Language, be patient with those whose first language is not English and do what you can to help them.
2 Reflect on ways of working with parents to help them provide appropriate support for their children’s early learning
We need to make sure that we work with the parents to get the best outcome for the child, so by working with the parents we can help to support the children through their early learning. The ways of doing this are;
– Research, making sure we understand their different cultures
– Phone calls, by keeping in touch with the parents at appropriate times throughout the day (e.g. nap time) to let them know how the child is doing.
– Making the parents feel comfortable and let them know that any worries or comments they have are welcome to be shared so that you can help them with any issues.
3 Identify and explain support and changes needed to improve own skills and knowledge and build on their own practice
There are many places where I can get support to improve my own skills and knowledge to help with my practice, there are many websites to get information from, also getting in touch with other childcare companies, such as ofsted, as they will be able to give me a lot of information about working with parents as partners.