The first section of this very helpful book covers the meaning of partnership, particularly with regard to ongoing development of building effective relationships with parents:
"Effective practice recognises that partnership is a continual process, not something that can be established, like a one-off project, and then left alone."
The chapter discusses issues including good communication, respect, and what it means to be "hard to reach". Supporting home learning through effective relationships between the setting and parents is examined, with reference to relevant research findings.
Chapter 2 begins with identifying the difference between a friendly working relationship with parents, and avoiding crossing the boundary into friendship. This can be tricky if you live and work within the same community. Being clear about your core values is crucial, as is the need to combine commitment to young children and their families with a certain detachment and professionalism. The author encourages the reader to constantly reflect on practice and provision: "Is there a risk that some parents experience a different service, only because they are judged to be trustworthy or nice?"
Building those first important aspects of a successful relationship is discussed, including the importance of recognising and acknowledging the expertise of parents. Working with outside agencies who might be supporting a child and his/her family is essential if a successful collaborative approach is the aim.
The third and final section, titled "Different kinds of involvement" covers areas such as sharing observations and records with parents, organising events involving parents, and inviting parents into the setting to share their expertise and support learning and development.
An excellent book covering all the main areas of successful partnership with boxed sections throughout called "Links to your practice" and "Food for Thought". These encourage you to reflect on your practice, discuss issues with colleagues and adapt your provision to best suit the families you work with. Throughout the book there are many examples of good partnership practice from a wide variety of settings and projects.
An extremely useful book for all early years practitioners. EYPS candidates would benefit greatly from reading this book as it covers all the issues concerned with standards 29-32, communicating and working with families and carers.