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Lack Of Involvement From Parents


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Have you ever politely complained to parents about their lack of involvement?

 

Out of 25 sets of parents - only 3 said they'd help wash up. 0 interest in our quiz (last year sold out), 0 interest in help with leaflet drop around the villages.

 

This years parents don't want to do anything! In previous years we've never had this problem. We need parental involvement to survive!

 

We just don't know what to do :o

 

ppp

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same here, getting less and less help. less on the comittee

 

think they all have too much on and the few who do help end up doing far too much

 

dont know a way around it, am going to stress it at the new parents evening soon

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total nightmare - i gave up and now own and run the business myself without a pretence that parents will help; most are too lazy or incapable and the ones that would be useful are at work and haven't got time.

 

sorry to sound so harsh but that's been my experience...

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Personally I thought for a long time that having sessions funded by the government, though good for preschool funds (they pay more than the normal fees in our case), has gradually led to less input as parents no longer pay for the service we provide and so many feel less obliged to contribute in other ways, and possibly don't feel they need to have much input as its not their money we are using ...being government funded probably looks in some parents eyes like we are 'in the money'!

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Hi, Are you a parent and toddler group, or a playgroup? My recollection of playgroup, (only two years ago), was the first time in three years that I had had any child-free time, or one on one with my other child. I was just so grateful that I could do my own washing up (or shopping, vacuuming, having a bath) without a baby on my hip that I never even thould about giving it up. I know that circumstances have changed with pre-school places being funded, but that time was golden to me as I am sure it is for your funded parents.

 

Maybe if you asked for help after the group ended, then the parents would not mind giving up their child-free time. If it clashed with their routine, maybe you could allow the parents to bring packed lunches for the children who could then go down for naps as soon as they got home and it wouldn't matter if the child falls asleep on the way home.

 

Parents are just busy. Hope this is of help.

 

Fe

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Unfortunately I think it's the way things are now. For the last few years we have also seen a steady decline in all areas of parental involvement. I just wish that the powers that be would also realize this and stop forcing committees on us. Funnily enough though this past year our parents have been brilliant. Masses of help, support in whatever we have asked for or done, unfortunately most are leaving us in July.

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We are a playgroup. We only ask parents to help set up (15mins before opening) and wash up once they collect their child at the end of the session and this as often as once a term.

 

Sad thing is, I know that most of them aren't busy parents - it's more of a 'don't ask me, ask someone else'.

 

I think that the free child places has got something to do with it.

 

I try and stress the importance of supporting our group but it falls on deaf ears.

 

Thanks for your posts

 

ppp

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Oh I'm going to be in so much trouble now - I will wait for the bullets and try and dodge them! :o

 

I don't think we have any 'right' to expect a lot of help from parents.........nice yes if it is forthcoming but if not........

 

We have worked long and hard to raise the status of Early Years provision - my parents either pay for their children to attend or are in receipt of NEG - why should they be 'expected' to then help set up, wash up or whatever..........

 

Tesco don't say to us can you come in a bit earlier to stock the shelves please

 

Banks don't say can you stay after you've dealt with your transaction and wash up for us

 

I won't go on - you get my drift! :(

 

If and when I ask my parents for any help it has always been forthcoming but that is almost certainly because it's a very rare occurrence and I don't approach any request with any air of expectation- added to that I thank them profusely - this would take the form of thanks at the time and an email later in the day to thank them again........

 

Right I'm ducking you can all start firing! xD:( :(

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We are making a loss, we can't staff any more hours or bodies, we are struggling to keep the group going. I am the only one who will work for free. Until recently parents had to do a rota duty but as this is a condition of access we can no longer ask it. We struggle to open on time and clear away before the next group. We desperately need funds from fundraising but get no support so have to cancel event after event. We need parental support to keep going not to mention the issue of getting a committee each year.

It's giving something back to the community. No Tesco don't ask us to stock their shelves because we don't get anything free from Tesco. We don't expect all parents to help but we rarely get thank you's either. Charities survive from charity.

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Nop need to duck and run sunnyday. I agre to an extent. its just been traditional that parents have been closely linked to playgroups and I think a lot of us are finding it difficult to continue that.

Our playgroup is the same. Very rarely do we have help during sessions and as for the committee...!

I'm thinking of talking about us becoming a community interest cahrity. I dont know much about it yet except that it doesnt need a committee.

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Hey - no bullets from me - I'm with you on this one!

 

I DO like to see involvement in other areas though - bringing things in that tie in with themes we may be having, photo's of things the children have been doing at home etc

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I DO like to see involvement in other areas though - bringing things in that tie in with themes we may be having, photo's of things the children have been doing at home etc

 

Me too and I ask parents to add comments to their children's individual plans and to their Learning Journey folders......

 

ppp - promise I wasn't being flippant - not my style.......

 

Sorry to hear that you are struggling........wish I could think of something to help you......

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Right I'm ducking you can all start firing! xD:( :(

Not from my direction, sunnyday.

 

I think there are lots of issues around parental involvement both in terms of what is expected from groups, and what parents feel they have to contribute. There are many barriers that prevent parents becoming more involved (lack of confidence, low self-esteem and lack of self-worth, depression etc). Knowing that there is an expectation to help out in your child's pre-school but feeling unable to do so can put you under incredible pressure. Knowing that as a result of this you are somehow being judged by the people who care for your child can make you feel even more helpless and usless than you already do.

 

I agree with what you say about other businesses not relying on their customers to support the basic functions of their operation sunnyday, however the voluntary sector has grown up on the basis that parents took an active role in running groups. I have always worked in private groups, and have never asked parents to come in and wash up or make the tea because I believe they have many more skills and attributes to offer that benefit the children more. That said, some parents are very scared at the idea of working with other people's children, and so if they offered to wash up and it seemed as if that task was a bit of a haven for them, then I woudn't turn them down. However I would work on getting them out of the kitchen and into the pre-school over a period of time. In my case, it was picking up a broom to sweep sand rather than washing up, but it led directly to where I am today. My degree, EYPS and owning my own group would never have happened without a very skilled pre-school supervisor who coaxed me and coached me and made me feel that my contributions however small were valuable and valued.

 

I think maybe the time has come to review the way that groups are run - we should no longer be in a position that our very survival depends on parents coming in on rota to do menial tasks. We should be able to adequately fund our early years provision so that we are properly staffed to carry out the duties and tasks associated with running a pre-school group. We need to make our parents an offer they can't refuse to come in and work alongside us in our settings. I'm not sure that I would agree that washing up and making tea is the opportunity of a lifetime!

 

So that's two of us in the firing line sunnyday. Will you hold my hand as the bullets rain in? :o

 

Maz

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Not only am I holding your hand Maz! :o

 

You have just reminded me that this is exactly how I 'got started' too! xD

 

I think after my very first session as a mum helper I knew that I had found my vocation.....and the rest, as they say, is history!

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Washing up and setting up isn't all we ask of parents. We have offered them to read stories, interact, share their skills and experiences but no takers.

 

We ask for support not free labour.

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Perhaps parents look upon you as THEIR supporter, and the idea of them supporting you is an alien concept?

 

It's certainly a minefield, isn't it? Have you asked them in your annual questionnaire if they can think of ways they can support the work of the Preschool? We have it on our parent/preschool contract, along with some suggestions that parents can tick

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We need parental support to keep going not to mention the issue of getting a committee each year.

It is a perennial problem, this business of getting a new committee each year. Parents whose children join a charity group have historically understood the nature of the contract they made in deciding to register their child, but I think this link has been weakening steadily over the years. In your original post I think you asked if other people had 'politely moaned' about lack of parental involvement.

 

Maybe you have reached a crisis point and need to lay the facts down in front of your parents (and committee) so that they understand what support is needed to keep your group viable and what they can do to help. Knowing that the future sustainability of the group is in the balance does bring out the best in parents. Is there sustainability funding available in your area? Being a charity means you can access grant funding which I as a private provider also making a loss and working for no salary can't. However I know that the availability of this kind of funding depends on what capacity is like in your area - if there is over capacity then it is unlikely to be available.

 

How helpful is your local early years team? With all the issues around funding ours is being bombarded with information about lost children, staffing cuts and the closure of non-viable sessions. Not that they can actually do anything about it but at least they can't say we didn't tell them.

 

I am very sorry that your group is in such a precarious state. I really hope you can find your way through. Perhaps fellow committee-run groups can rally around with some good ideas about how you can raise extra funds or enthuse your parents so that you don't have this continual headache in trying to keep afloat.

 

Maz

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I agree with you too. I wouldn't be where I am today without, like Maz, a skilled preschool leader who coaxed me in and supported me with my three very small children. But I don't expect every parent to give time to do things for us in the setting. I do very much appreciate anyone who does, but equally I appreciate anyone who simply gives me a hug and says "thank you" as their child leaves us to go to school. It is difficult for settings which are struggling to survive but I think it is time to start having a rethink on committee run settings, especially after my conversation with some PLA bods at the weekend who believed all parents accessing the setting were just crying out to be asked in to do voluntary work - some are, some aren't. I would like to think our parents would rally round to support us if they thought we were going under but ultimately we provide a service and we can't someone else will.

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Many years ago there was a section on the childs records where I asked parents to write their hobbies and interests and jobs. That way I found a paramedic who was great at organising visits from the ambulance, a postman who would show the children his post sack and read a story, a mom who kept horses and was able to show us the tack used, a manager of a supermarket who priovided us with a range of things from fruit to reams of computer paper. Others would mend, wash, make tea, gather resources, join in with sponsored events and generally be a part of the groups activities.

There are many ways that parents can help out and be involved but sadly, even with offering all these ways, the involvemnet isnt as forth coming as it once was.

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Many years ago there was a section on the childs records where I asked parents to write their hobbies and interests and jobs. That way I found a paramedic who was great at organising visits from the ambulance, a postman who would show the children his post sack and read a story, a mom who kept horses and was able to show us the tack used, a manager of a supermarket who priovided us with a range of things from fruit to reams of computer paper. Others would mend, wash, make tea, gather resources, join in with sponsored events and generally be a part of the groups activities.

There are many ways that parents can help out and be involved but sadly, even with offering all these ways, the involvemnet isnt as forth coming as it once was.

 

We still ask this question Rea however except from the odd nurse now and again, everyone else is either a housewife or some sort of non-descript manager :o

Most of our mums run off to go to the gym or have their nails and hair done.

Ref Committee's we also struggle, however we have currently got the best committee we have had for many years, they have raised £3,500 since September, not a day passes where I don't tell them how well they are doing! They are all leaving in July though xD

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I am currently in my last year of foundation degree and have chosen parental involvement as my research project - the comments on this topic are fasinating - I am equally frustrated and I am trying to take over the setting to remove the need for a committee - I have their full support as they agree I am the one qualified to do the job and they are not but we are having realy problems with the PLA - we have a large amount in the bank as we have been fundraising for our own building - thats another long story!! - and the PLA want the money if I take over - absolute mine field - and they are not having the money so we are in a catch 22 situation - nobody wants to be on the committee but PLA won't let me take over. Anyway I am compiling a questionnaire to ask parents why they don't help in the setting - I'll let you know the answers and any solutions we find. I had not thought of in the terms of 'Tesco' but it is a very valid point. I will continue to read this thread with interest.

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I understood that if the playgroup was to fold or be sold, the assets could be bought by the group or passed onto another group with the same aims.

The PLA would only have the funds if there was no-one else to have them.

Is it the local PLA telling you that or National? Have you spoken to lawcall?

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we are having realy problems with the PLA - we have a large amount in the bank as we have been fundraising for our own building - thats another long story!! - and the PLA want the money if I take over - absolute mine field - and they are not having the money so we are in a catch 22 situation - nobody wants to be on the committee but PLA won't let me take over. Anyway I am compiling a questionnaire to ask parents why they don't help in the setting - I'll let you know the answers and any solutions we find. I had not thought of in the terms of 'Tesco' but it is a very valid point. I will continue to read this thread with interest.

 

I'm sure someone said to me once that the Committee could vote not to be members of the PLA any more and you could adopt your own constitution so long that it was accepted by the Charities Commission. Then you don't fall under the auspices of the PLA - I'd LOVE to find out if that was true!!!

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I'm sure someone said to me once that the Committee could vote not to be members of the PLA any more and you could adopt your own constitution so long that it was accepted by the Charities Commission. Then you don't fall under the auspices of the PLA - I'd LOVE to find out if that was true!!!

 

 

yes Cait..

 

very true...

 

the setting I ran had its own constitution which had been accepted by charity commission.. think the main thing was that any assets had to go to another charity or similar when you fold / close... ours would have gone to a local children's , so this would not change the problems of folding with a lot of assets/ money in the bank- it would have to be sent to the charity specified..

 

That said we did receive occasional payments from PLA when a setting closed - we were still members as the insurance was better for us..

 

Inge .

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What a fascinating discussion!

 

Although I agree a lot with what Maz and Sunny say, I think the Tesco metaphor holds up only so far, because we have charitable status. It would be great if funding alone was enough for us to run, but if it was, I worry that settings would turn private and try to make a profit.

 

When committee run settings work well, they are brilliant, because they become a way for a local community to create its own childcare. I totally understand though that they can be a problem, and in many ways it shouldn't be up to volunteers to give of their free time to make up the deficit in what the government gives. But, having said that, at least the government does give funding now and is increasing the hours.

 

PPP, I've found as chair that the best approach is to ask directly, rather than to pussyfoot around parents. If I say to someone, 'I need you to ...' (e.g. put away the barriers we use for freeflow, or take stuff to the dump), I find they are usually happy to do so. We push and push to get parents to be involved in fund raising (it takes a lot of pushing but it works eventually). Also, we try to give 'sweeteners', e.g. this week we are having a visit from some owls as a result of funding raised at the Easter fair.

 

When I needed new committee members last year, I stood up at the AGM and said, 'if no one steps forward, we will close, it's as simple as that'. (This was how they got me as chair in the first place, :o ).

 

In terms of committee, I'm going to stay on next year when my daughter leaves, but I am going to start looking right now for new members, particularly a treasurer. I'm starting to think that in many ways the treasurer role just needs to be done by a paid accountant, so I might look into that.

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What a fascinating discussion!

 

Although I agree a lot with what Maz and Sunny say, I think the Tesco metaphor holds up only so far, because we have charitable status. It would be great if funding alone was enough for us to run, but if it was, I worry that settings would turn private and try to make a profit.

 

When committee run settings work well, they are brilliant, because they become a way for a local community to create its own childcare. I totally understand though that they can be a problem, and in many ways it shouldn't be up to volunteers to give of their free time to make up the deficit in what the government gives. But, having said that, at least the government does give funding now and is increasing the hours.

 

PPP, I've found as chair that the best approach is to ask directly, rather than to pussyfoot around parents. If I say to someone, 'I need you to ...' (e.g. put away the barriers we use for freeflow, or take stuff to the dump), I find they are usually happy to do so. We push and push to get parents to be involved in fund raising (it takes a lot of pushing but it works eventually). Also, we try to give 'sweeteners', e.g. this week we are having a visit from some owls as a result of funding raised at the Easter fair.

 

When I needed new committee members last year, I stood up at the AGM and said, 'if no one steps forward, we will close, it's as simple as that'. (This was how they got me as chair in the first place, :o ).

 

In terms of committee, I'm going to stay on next year when my daughter leaves, but I am going to start looking right now for new members, particularly a treasurer. I'm starting to think that in many ways the treasurer role just needs to be done by a paid accountant, so I might look into that.

 

 

Pretty certain at this stage that I'll be chair for a long time yet!!

 

There was a thread last week about accountants. I think it was LJW who said their accountant was free because he was offering something back to the community. I googled and found a group called 'Local development agencies', although based in Birmingham they might have links to your neck of the woods, they have given me the details of an accountant who is a community interest company. You might find something similar. www.bvsc.org xD

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Thanks Rea, will look into that.

 

We should start a 'chairs forever' club, although I think the PSLA gives a limit of 7 years!! :o

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What a fascinating discussion!

 

Although I agree a lot with what Maz and Sunny say, I think the Tesco metaphor holds up only so far, because we have charitable status. It would be great if funding alone was enough for us to run, but if it was, I worry that settings would turn private and try to make a profit.

 

Ah good point well made there Suzie! :o

 

I am owner/manager - no committee and no charitable status - so perhaps I am looking at this from a different angle!

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What a fascinating discussion!

 

I worry that settings would turn private and try to make a profit.

 

 

:oxD:( p****t!!! Not much of that about these days on the NEG funding we get

Edited by Panders
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