Support for Practitioners

Working in partnership with parents

Here are some resources to help support you as a practitioner to confidently work in partnership with parents and engage them in their children’s learning, something which can encourage and support children’s learning and development.

Building relationships of trust

Regular conversations with parents are a really important aspect of the parent-practitioner relationship, during which parents and practitioners can share information with each other. These informal conversations can help parents feel that they are not missing out on their child’s day. Doing this regularly can also help build relationships of trust between the parent and the practitioner, ad they get to know each other, and the child, better and feel more comfortable with each other.

However, these informal conversations are not enough in order to develop good relationships with parents. Parents need to be able to share theirs ideas and feedback with you, so it is worth considering ways that they could do this anonymously and safely. As one parent said doing our 4Ps Project “I think that its really useful as a parent to be able to give feedback or raise concerns without worrying about any implications. For example, just sharing ideas and concerns, because it’s quite difficult when you have a potential concern about your key-worker for your child, or the owner of the nursery, there’s no-one you can really talk to about that.”

It is also important to try and get parents involved in their child’s learning and development. For example, you can develop a simple survey to identify what your parents are interested or have expertise in. Then you can use that information to organise activities and events that parents will find interesting and relevant and invite parents to attend and also contribute. Parents are also more likely to attend events and activities, and engage more actively,  when they find them interesting and when they are planned at a time that works for them.

You can also use learning journals and information sharing tools. For example you can include lyrics to a new song you’ve been working on, or a recipe you’re planning to try and encourage parents to try it with their child.

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.

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.