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Speaking To New Parents


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Hi, just want your thoughts and advice please on a scenario that happened earlier today...

About an hour into pre-school session today there was a knock at the door, to which I answered to a lady with her young children who I haven't seen before and wasn't aware of any new parents (we have only had 2 children start this term). Lady explains she was sent a prospectus and is interested in putting child in for one session a week starting Friday if we have space. She hasn't arranged a visit, just decided to turn up out of the blue. Leader says after that she hasn't sent her a prospectus so must have been our admin colleague.

Anyway leader is in middle of activity so I ask the lady to bear with me after signing into visitor book and speak to leader to explain, the leader encourages me to speak to her- show her policies and procedure folders which is nice that she has faith in me to leave me to do that...so I get the folders out and ask her what she would like to know about us but didn't get much to go on other than were we free for friday.

I explain the times we are open and where (we are based in 3 settings-2 school 1 v hall) and a little about how the sessions run but I felt a total plum and felt I looked like I didn't have a clue what I was doing :o has niggled me all day but leader has said not to worry- she gets nervous speaking to prospective parents. Has anyone any tips for how to welcome new parents and explain things that are going on? I think I would probably be ok if it was arranged

Anyway this lady was at setting for all of 5 minutes- another visit was arranged for Thurs am to introduce little boy to the setting and people- asked him his favourite thing to play with so there is something to interest him as nan will be leaving him come Friday, and to allow mum to go through policies and procedures and pick up a uniform

Am I being a complete idiot by not knowing what to say?!?! :S I felt so on the spot it was like I was star-struck lol which annoyed me

Having spoken later to colleague at different job-just in passing saying about my day- and she said she was advised by different sources to simply turn up to settings as they are unable to cover any dirt tracks shall we say. I see her point and agree that it is a good idea of sussing out a setting but what got my goat was the fact that this prospective mum was also an early years worker so surely the idea of someone just turning up on doorstep was not a particularly appreciated idea considering the stress when Ofsted turn up unnanounced....am I over reacting and thinking about this way to much lol??

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Hi !

We get new parents turning up all the time without warning ! I think its something that you just get use to ! It sounds to me that you just lack a bit of confidence, I'm sure you did a good job of introducing the new parent to your setting and they are returning so you couldn't of been that bad !

I know its sometimes difficult to think what to say when you are put on the spot but it gets easier with practise and you always think I should of told them this or that with hindsight.

I shouldn't worry so, I expect the next time this happens you will be more prepared.

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Hi,

 

I'm sure the parent was absolutely fine with what you told them. Most parents just want to know the basic mechanics of a group (days, times, cost, any extras they need to provides etc.) and are not so interested in policies and curriculum! I am sure if there was anything else they wanted to know they would've asked, especially if they are early years trained. Perhaps they had already asked around and looked at your inspection report and were satisfied with that side of things in any case.

 

We too used to get people turning up out of the blue at times. If someone does this then I think it is fair enough to explain that you don't have alot of time to spend talking to them but they are quite welcome to stay and look round, then arrange a different time for them to come back and answer any questions when you are less busy. :o

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I wouldnt worry about it if I was you. You probably came across as more confident than you think you did. Why dont you write a brief breakdown of the information you need to pass on and keep it hand in the back of the register or somewhere else quick to get to. I spoke to parents for years and still always felt like I'd got it wrong but the they kept coming back so I figured I must be doing something right.

I also had parents turning up out of the blue. I never saw this as a problem. When I started to work for supply the agency owner sent me to a setting with the instruction to 'feedback to him what the place was like'. This was because when he'd gone to do the initial interview he arrived 15 minutes early and they wouldnt let him in. Not a good sign. Incidently, it turned out to be a terrible place, I felt like standing outside with a warning placard.

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first of all relax and smile, dont worry parents are nervous too and probably didnt notice if you where too

 

I find the prospectus is a great "prop", I give parents a guided tour and check through the prospectus as I go, I encourage parents to spend some time mingling and chatting to the other staff and if they are going to start their children I encourage them to fill in the enrolement form while they let the child play it gives the parents time to think of any questions most parents are happy with this and it gives you a chance to think if there is anything you havent told them.

 

we often have parents turn up unexpected, we only let those in that have brought children with them, others we will chat to in the foyer answer any questions but we will politely ask them to make an appointment and if possible to bring their child with them when they return.

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If she'd had a prospectus she should have known most of it!

We have a list of things to say to new parents, and we work though the list, ticking as we go along - I used to get parents to sign this so they couldn't claim to have not been told!

 

I also have a typed 'recap on admission discussion' for them to take away, which covers everything again so they can share the info with their partner or whoever.

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dont worry - its just something you get used to. We have unanounced visits and i just go through the running of the day, numbers of children staff, what we expect them to bring etc - can roll the seach in my sleep now. Dont worry sounds like you did well :o

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I think parents instantly know whether it is the right setting for their child as soon as they come in the door. When parents knock at the door i ask them come in quickly so i can take down brief details. When they come on an induction visit with their child I go through things with them. I go through the routine as i let them in i.e. where to put coats etc, signing in sheet then do a tour around the playroom, pointing out what the children learn from each activity I show them how we plan daily and leave them to fill in registration forms. I give them copy of prospectus, show them cirrent newsletter and leave them to it whilst a staff member observes the child.I give parents many opportunities to ask ME questions.I ask them if they feel that their child will benefit from coming and collect their fee for the first month. I have found from experience that parents are not really too interested in plans/policies etc. but fortunately still judge a setting by children purposely playing. I always ask parents to try and stay and observe the whole session then they can see for themselves and ask questions

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We have always operated open door policy with the view that parents will see us warts and all. I chose not to send my eldest to 2 pre-schools because they had strict appointment only policy and my H.V at the time adviced me to either phone for a same day visit or simply just turn up. I still feel nervous talking to parents but after a few minutes manage to get over it, you probably did a better job than you're giving yourself credit for.

Karrie

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we only had an open door policy, never made appointments, occasionally a day would be suggested as more suitable but then left it up to them when they come, our reason is the same as stated above, we want parents to see us as we are, and often told parents this when they tried to make an appointment,

 

Prospectus would give most of the info needed, and most we see only want to know if we have a place and when can they start or will they be funded and from when etc.

 

All parents want different info, and is best to be guided by them, too much information too soon can be confusing, we always say to telephone if they think of something they need to know...

 

Inge

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*Sighs in relief*

xD

Thank you for all your lovely replies, I do feel better about it now and have just put it in the box named 'learnt from experience'- there are things that you have mentioned that I did do but just didn't remember doing lol and things that I can think of now that wish I had done (like smile more cuz was a bit panicked, hope she didn't think I was right miserable so and so) but that must bode well for the next parents so bring them on! lol I will so regret saying that if they start rolling on in but never mind...must continue with the Inclusion assignment now- 3000 words down 1000 to go before Thursday! :o

Thanks again folks, its really apppreciated x

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