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Travellers' children


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Hi all,

 

I wanted to ask for some advice on how to engage with the traveller families we have at our pre-school. It's three sisters and their children, also a grandmother is involved and some friends that pick up.

Thing is, they haven't identified themselves as travellers, but we know that they definitely are.

 

We find it hard to engage them in their children's learning. There are never ending problems with the fees, progress reports never get read or signed, children don't attend the events etc.

 

 

The mums are very young, in their teens or early twenties. We also noticed that they have problems with literacy (unable to fill in the forms without support).

 

What can we do to connect with them without being intrusive or patronising? Especially that they never said they were travellers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If it was me, I would start by identifying the problems each of the parents is facing and then rank these by order of importance. Identify how you can support each parent, perhaps tackling one issue at a time. So if you think literacy is an issue, how can you make your documentation more easily accessible? This step alone might help the parents to have a better understanding of how your setting works: when fees need to be paid, what special events are happening and when children need to attend, etc.

 

There is a report here which talks about how to improve outcomes for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children. I haven't read it lately, but it might provide some useful insights and support.

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We have had the pleasure of many traveller families over the years.

Firstly do they complete the data forms with ethnic background as this may help you identify whether they are or not.

I wouldn't necessarily worry whether they are travellers or not, but more importantly how you can engage with them for best outcomes for the children. Our keypersons got to know the families well, so any events coming up would be verbally told to them instead of expecting them to be able to read the newsletters each month.

We also used to sit down to fill in all the forms and this gave us the opportunity to support parents in filling them in if required.

We now do home visits for all our new children and families so this could be another way of building the start of any relationship.

Our local LA used to have resources and advisors to support settings, have you contacted your local Early Years Equality Advisor, as they might be able to help.:)

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It might be useful to find out if they have had any contact through their local Children's Centre services with any other early childhood provision or health services. The CC might also know them and be working with them as Travellers would be one of their target groups so they should know. Do they live on a fixed site?

 

Cx

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  • 2 weeks later...

we have a family of settled travellers - mum initially contacted me by phone and then went to another preschool , several months later the travellers outreach worker contacted me and the children have been with us for 2 terms - one is leaving for school . I think the important thing is to treat them like you would any other family , support where you can and engage with them . My parent is also young but literate and was the only parent to put a constructive comment in her child's book diary. No problem paying fees yet last nursery they owed - maybe it was our approach sadly too many opinions are formed and often without realising it - alienation can take presidence and people behave indifferently towards known travellers. My family surprised me in terms of cultural differences as the parents are not married and state no religion and yet I have picked up plenty of language and dialect. After some research I found out a 'gaver' was a policeman !

 

Our enco knows of another traveller family who have many different cutural differences from our family so it shows everyone is unique

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We get a fair few traveller children in this area and there are always a few in each class at the local school.

 

Sadly the attitude of other parents can be an issue. There is a lovely little boy in the Reception class I help out in - he is very gentle and has a wonderful happy personality. The mother of another boy has asked that her son be kept away from him though as they were starting to form a good friendship. I wonder how long the gentleness and happiness will prevail when this poor lad becomes aware of those sorts of attitudes towards him.

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