I understand from my Scottish childminding colleagues that the Care Commission are pushing this subject heavily at the moment so I hope some of this information might be helpful to them :)
I regularly read in child care magazines that Nurseries and Playgroups are getting parents involved with the children’s activities – a Nursery invited parents to lunch so they could sample their new summer menu; a Playgroup decided to work more closely with fathers and set up a woodworking day.
These stories leave me with a small worry in the back of my mind that I am not doing enough to meet Principle 2.2 of the EYFS, which is headed ‘Parents as Partners’. I made a list of the things I do to try and make myself feel more positive. I already –
- Ask parents for a plethora of initial information about their child and requesting they keep me updated when things change;
- Speak to parents regularly – every day if possible but if they do not collect their child I contact them at least twice a week in the evenings;
- Have regular update meetings with parents to discuss their child’s progress;
- Prepare a summative assessment of their child’s learning and development to discuss with parents;
- Write a monthly newsletter to keep parents updated about what we do, where we go and general setting news;
- Ask parents for comments about my menus, adapted policies and procedures, changes to the house etc;
- Write an annual questionnaire which parents are asked to complete and return and which asks them about all areas of the service I provide for them;
- Have a big file of childhood conditions and other information for parents to read at any mutually convenient time;
- Keep parents informed about any changes to my home or building work that is being done so they are up-to-date and can ask me questions if they are concerned;
- Store my Ofsted required complaints information where parents can access it if there is a problem;
- Provide parents with snippets of information that I think will interest them eg a parent is teaching her children French at home so when I come across any useful websites, worksheets etc in my research, I pass them on to her;
- Write a daily diary for each EYFS child which chats about their likes and dislikes, favourite toys and games, meals and snacks eaten etc;
- Share children’s favourite recipes and ask parents to keep me updated with what the children are eating at home;
- Ask parents to sign all the necessary paperwork so they know if their child has had an accident and can confirm medication provision;
- Add information regularly to the parents page on my website for them to access at their convenience.
Is that enough? I will not know until Ofsted come calling. Do I need to start up woodworking sessions or suggest family cooking experiences to maintain my outstanding...? I hope not!
Mini e-book 10 explores working with parents in more detail. It is available from my website www.knutsfordchildminding.co.uk.