You may wonder what partnership means. “Partnership involves parents, families and practitioners working together to benefit children. Each recognises respects and values what the other does and says. Partnership involves responsibility on both sides.” Taken from The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework
Your child’s nursery has a responsibility to encourage you to reinforce what they’re being taught at nursery. By supporting that, you’re also showing your child that there’s a connection between nursery and home life. Therefore, there won’t be any conflicts or confusion for them. Because, you’ll be backing up what they’re learning and applying it to their everyday life.
Your child will benefit from this partnership. It will boost their confidence and have a positive impact on their development. Also, you’ll feel in control and your child will be more settled. Therefore, it will make family life relaxed and enjoyable.
You naturally have an interest in the growth and development of your child from birth. Your nursery also has a keen interest in their progress and development. Together you share a joint interest in the welfare of your child.
According to The Early Years Foundation Stage, “Close working between early years practitioners and parents is vital for the identification of children’s learning needs and to ensure a quick response to any area of particular difficulty. Parents and families are central to a child’s wellbeing and practitioners should support this important relationship by sharing information and offering support for extending learning in the home.”
The report also states that when parents and practitioners work together, it has a positive influence on the development and learning process of your child.
The case study below is taken from page 16 of ‘A Know How Guide’ (EYFS Framework)
First steps in building parental partnership
“Jackson is 2 years and 3 months old. He began attending the Children’s Centre at the beginning of the term after his second birthday, as his family met the eligibility criteria for the extended free entitlement to early education at age two. His mother, Charlie, had Jackson shortly after leaving school. Charlie never seems very comfortable talking to the practitioners in the toddler room and prefers to hurry away as soon as possible. Jackson has settled in well, so his key person Ruth approaches Charlie to talk about the check and arrange a time to meet. Charlie looks visibly nervous and says that she would rather Jackson wasn’t assessed, as she doesn’t feel he can do that much yet and doesn’t want him to get a bad report while he is still so young.
Ruth chats with her setting manager, Liz, about how best to approach the check and meeting with Charlie and they agree that they first need to build the partnership with Charlie and her confidence in the setting. Ruth invites Charlie to come to collect Jackson slightly early the next day and watch him playing in the toddler room. She is reluctant, but agrees to come. The next day Charlie watches Jackson, through an internal window, as he explores a tray of dry sand with Ruth, rubbing it with his hands and drawing large circular shapes. She looks interested and mentions that he makes similar marks whenever he spills food on the table at home. Liz explains these marks are the first steps towards early writing and that these experiences, whether at home or at nursery, are very valuable for Jackson. She encourages Charlie to bring in photographs of the marks he makes at home and loans the family a pack of mark-making materials.
Over the next couple of weeks Charlie shows Ruth some photographs of Jackson playing at home and brings in some of his mark-making which Ruth incorporates into Jackson’s Learning Journey. Charlie begins to open up to the nursery practitioners, staying for occasional chats at the beginning and end of sessions. She is much more receptive when Ruth raises the idea of the progress check and agrees to attend a meeting. Charlie is very pleased to hear that Ruth and Liz feel he is making good progress and that there are no areas of concern. She enjoys talking about some of the comments in his Learning Journey, commenting that he is just like that at home. ‟ At the meeting Ruth arranges to lend Charlie some books that Jackson has been enjoying at nursery and gives her some suggestions on how to share them with him at home. Charlie opens up and says that she was never very good at reading at school but really wants things to be better for her son. Ruth explains that some of the simple things she can do with Jackson at home, such as reading stories or drawing, will really help his progress later on at school. She encourages Charlie to talk as much as possible to the Children’s Centre staff, as it is by working together that they can achieve the best for Jackson.”
Ways of working in partnership with your child’s nursery
The benefits of working in partnership lay the foundation for your child to become an active learner, player or someone who enjoys exploring new things. It also develops their creative and critical thinking skills.
A combination of observing, planning and assessment will stimulate your child’s curiosity and willingness to learn.
Mutual engagement between you and your child’s nursery will provide valuable information and improve learning in the following areas:
The nursery uses observations to understand your child’s interests, their achievements and actions. They also need you to provide observations about your child. The ongoing observations from both parties along with knowledge of your child will be used to determine learning priorities and support their learning.
Planning and guiding children’s activities are an important part of their learning journey. For this to be effective, you should think about the various ways children learn and mirror them at home.
3 Effective teaching and learning methods:
1. Playing and exploring - children examine, check things out and have a shot at doing them.
2. Active learner - children focus on what they’re doing. If they run into problems they’ll keep on trying and they get enjoyment when they achieve.
3. Creating and thinking critically - Children have ideas of their own and come up with new ones. They make connections between ideas and plan a course of action for completing them.
As parents, you’re encouraged to take part in your child’s assessment procedures. It may be difficult for some of you. However, your child’s nursery will support you so you can develop a respectful relationship. Your child will benefit because they’ll feel more secure in an environment where trust and respect are mutually shared.
Three questions you can ask yourself to know whether you’re on track are:
- Do I really know how much my child is learning when they’re at nursery?
- What interesting and fun things can I do with them to support their development and learning?
- What can I do to find out the role I should play to support my child’s learning at home?
By answering these questions you’ll know whether you’re working in partnership with your child’s nursery or not. If your child is happy, you’ll be happy and no doubt their nursery will also be happy. A good relationship with your childcare provider is essential for the well-being of your child.
Photo credit: Pixabay.com
Can you think of any other ways you can work in partnership with your child’s nursery? Please leave your comments in the box below. Also, please share this article with friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading.