Relationships with parents have long been recognised as a crucial element in supporting children's learning and it continues to be high on the agenda for inspections in this cycle, with a specific reference to reading.
Inspectors must find out the views of parents during the inspection and this usually takes place at the beginning of the session or perhaps at lunchtime if and when children are collected. The consultation with parents contributes to judgments about how well the provision develops partnerships with parents in order to support children’s learning and development.
'The inspector must check how the provider obtains and uses their views to improve its service. If there is no evidence relating to this, the inspector must consider whether the partnership with parents is good enough and the inspector may choose to contact parents by phone to request their views.' (Ofsted Early years inspection handbook, page 18)
'Practitioners share information with parents about their child’s progress in relation to the EYFS. They help parents to support and extend their child’s learning at home, including how to encourage a love of reading' (page 34).
Sharing information about children's interests, attainment and progress
Good settings are where:
Staff communicate very well with parents, to find out what children already know and can do prior to attending the setting.
Information about children’s progress is regularly shared with parents and carers.
Parents are actively involved in their children’s learning. For example, their views and opinions are obtained through comprehensive questionnaires.
Staff keep parents well informed about their children’s daily routines, well-being and academic progress.
Parents are kept well informed about their children’s progress and are invited to share information regularly about children’s achievements.
Parents comment that they enjoy accessing the online journal at home to view their children’s pictures and read staff’s observations.
Parents feel extremely involved in their children’s learning and play a significant part in improving practice within the setting. Parents contribute greatly to plans for children’s ongoing progress.
Staff and parents work together to assess children’s achievements.
Parents share experiences children have at home and staff quickly incorporate these into the following day’s learning. This makes parents feel supported and very much part of their children’s learning journey.
Staff provide parents with regular updates about their child’s progress and utilise an online app to aid communication even further. This approach also affords parents frequent opportunities to contribute what their child is learning at home so that staff can build this into the curriculum that they offer.
Parents share lots of information about their child’s development and interests from the start. Staff keep parents informed about their child’s progress and achievements.
Learning at home
In addition to settings and parents sharing information about children's learning and development, good settings support home learning:
Staff work very well with parents to ensure they know and understand how their children are developing, providing good opportunities for learning to continue at home.
Staff encourage parents to get involved in their children’s learning. They share reading books and story sacks with parents to encourage children’s love of reading at home.
Parents know how to support their children’s learning at home and beyond.
Staff keep parents well informed about their children’s development and offer ideas to support children’s learning at home.
Parents praise the staff for ideas to continue children’s learning at home and information about the importance of reading.
Parents welcome ideas for supporting children’s learning at home.
Staff provide ideas for parents to encourage them to continue children’s learning at home. Parents are encouraged to develop children’s love of reading through the sharing of ‘story sacks.’
Parents are actively involved with every aspect of their child’s learning. They extend their learning at home in all areas of the curriculum, using the vast bank of ideas given to them on the parent app.
The childminder exchanges extensive information and guides parents in how to support children’s learning at home.
The manager and staff involve parents fully in their children’s learning. They regularly discuss children’s progress with parents and make suggestions on how they can support learning at home.
Leaders consider partnerships with parents to be instrumental in supporting children’s learning and to secure the ongoing development of the nursery.
Some of the recommendations from the September Ofsted reports:
Provide more support for parents to help them to build on children's learning at home.
Gather more detailed information about children's home lives to help them gain a deeper understanding of the similarities and differences between themselves and others.
Support children's progress by ensuring that parents understand the importance of good attendance and how this supports children for their next stage of learning.
Strengthen routines for consistently gathering information from parents about their children when they first start at the nursery.
Find out more from parents about what their children know and can do on entry and use this to plan even more meaningful experiences from the start.
Develop further ways to encourage and link children's learning between preschool and home.
Develop further the exchange of information with parents about how they can appropriately support their child's learning at home.
Build on the good parent partnerships to develop more frequent and effective ways to help parents extend their children's learning at home.
Find out more from parents about what their child already knows and can do when they first join the pre-school.