Working in partnership with parents

Working in partnership with parents is central to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) in England and the National Minimum Standards for Registered Childcare (NMS) in Wales.

Here we’ve put together a round-up of all our resources to help support you as a childcare professional to confidently connect and engage with parents to encourage and develop children’s learning. 

Communicating with parents

It’s important that parents and carers know you as their child’s key person. It’s your job to inform parents of their child’s day and the progress their child is making.

Involve parents and carers from the very beginning transition period, along the way from induction, settling in, and daily chats, to sharing of resources, social events and information sessions. Check you have the correct parental permissions in place and secure a way of communicating that works for all of you.

Top tip: Be flexible in your approach to communication with parents. Think about how you might need to adapt to suit different parents, for example those with English as an additional language or a specific learning need. Also, make sure it’s the right time to share information without having to rush off. 

Building good relationships

Regular chats with parents are a really important opportunity for sharing information. Parents can often feel they’re missing out on their child's day, so a few minutes chatting can be reassuring.

It’s important to get them involved in their child’s learning and development. You could do this through our learning journal and information sharing - for example including lyrics to a new song you’ve been working on, or a recipe you're planning to try.

“I make sure to fill it [the learning journal] with extension ideas that the parents can try at home” says Sue Asquith, Childminder.

Childminder Pippa Ashton has some great suggestions for sharing and working with parents in her blog she mentions on the forum: Bring and share EYFS planning.

Top tip: When building a relationship with parents you should consider the sensitive feelings of the parent and thinking carefully about how you communicate, particularly when you have difficult things to say.

“Tactful responses are also needed, for example if a child learns to walk whilst in your setting. A child’s first steps are very important to parents, so I think about this and approach the subject with sensitivity.” Karen Steer, Childminder

Extend children’s learning

A good way to extend learning is to have resources that can be shared at home. We’ve developed a parents section and other resources to help ignite enthusiasm for this. Explore our:

How about taking the parents in your setting through our Sharing children’s progress document? This breaks down the stages of development in an easy to digest way.

You can also find out more about:

Want more tips and stories from PACEY members and experienced childcare professionals about how they have interacted with parents to help give inspiration? Check out our 30 ways to engage parents in children’s learning book.

Take a look at the latest issue of Childcare Professional magazine with our feature on page 42 all about exploring story sacks – a fantastic resource that can be shared with parents.

Want to learn more about working with fathers? Check out our new training course and bundle.