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Parents involvement


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Hi all

 

Every time we have a visit from our improvement advisor she comments that we need to get more parental input into children's learning journey's. (easier said than done!)

 

We tried using 'home diaries' which we filled each at the end of each week and parents were asked to fill in to say what their child had been doing at home. This worked for a couple of weeks for some parents then despite being reminding nearly everyday they didn't even remember to bring them back!

 

We then gave each child a plastic a5 folder with some blank paper and blank 'wow' moment slips in for the parents to fill in when their child done something new at home. Well, since Easter we have had 3 back (between 14 children).

 

We also invite them in to read progress summaries each term and invite them to write comments but they hardly ever do.

I have managed to use some photos that they have put on facebook (with their permission) and then spoke to the child about them and put them in learning journey's.

We are due Ofsted and I don't know what else we can try! :(

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It doesn't sound like you can do anymore and if you have all your attempts logged then Ofsted (and your improvement officer) can't complain. When they do your inspection and speak to parents they will get feedback anyway about how you encourage them to be involved even if they choose not to. We have been in a similar position for a few years and have to say that at the moment they are really contributing through the Tapestry journals which we have just introduced but how long it will last who knows!

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Hi engaging with parents and bringing them on board can be one of the most difficult things to achieve, but it is possible with a bit of creative thinking.

Before the children start our setting we visit them at home. In the preschool pack are two sheets that become the beginning of their learning journal with us. One says " all about me" and the other one says "this is me". They can either draw a little picture of themselves or stick in a photo.

We also run a book club, the importance of the book club is discussed when the parents look around, so you have already sold the benefits of having it. The children are invited to choose a book each week to take home to share. They are also given a sheet which the child can draw a little picture about the book, and a space for a comment by parents, ie: loved the book, really enjoyed it, wasn't keen. All the returned sheets go into the child's learning journals. You won't catch all the parents this way but the majority are sent back completed each week.

Have you ever thought of sending home a sheet that could say something like " we have noticed James has started to really enjoy playing with............................ Does he like to do this at home.............................

With a space for a comment.

Do the parents get to talk to the keypersons each day, can they not annotate discussions had into the journals like " James mum informed me "he has a new bike" " slept in his own bed".

Not sure this is any help Fx

Edited by Fredbear
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Do the parents get to talk to the keypersons each day, can they not annotate discussions had into the journals like " James mum informed me "he has a new bike" " slept in his own bed".

Not sure this is any help Fx

we have resorted to doing this as we too have problems engaging parents. and we ask what their interests are at home when they are the focus child of week for their group, then this get's added to long observation and do post it for parents page in learning journey too - at least you are not alone in having this problem!! x

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Getting parents involved is always going to be tough, and strategies often work initially but need to be re-introduced every so often to keep reminding them about it. We do the usual slips sent home, wow board etc. something which works quite well for us was setting up an early years email address specifically for parents to send us observations and wow moments from home. This works for a lot of parents because they can quickly and easily attach a photo from their smart phones and email it over. But again, we had to keep reminding them every half term or so. We are also thinking about purchasing a mobile phone so parents can text in.

 

A lot of the time I think parents just worry that they're going to put the wrong thing down and feel silly. It's our job as practitioners to encourage them and show them how simple it is! Make sure they have access to their child's learning journey and regularly invite them in to see the setting in action. As long as you are not too worried about trying lots of different tactics; you'll get there!

Edited by Sarahrun
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Hi all

 

Every time we have a visit from our improvement advisor she comments that we need to get more parental input into children's learning journey's. (easier said than done!)

 

We are due Ofsted and I don't know what else we can try! :(

 

Hi klc - lots of great advice already - just wanted to add - ask your advisor what else she would suggest :1b

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My favourite response to last years questionnaire read;

 

Q; did you take your child's learning journey home and if not, why not?

 

A; "I did not know we were allowed to"

 

I wouldn't have minded, but this was one of our most finickety mums who was always going on about little tiny things. She was very well educated and we mentioned taking learning journeys home in every newsletter and face to face when the key person chatted with her!

 

Lots of other parents did and they added photos from holidays and family and friend notes.

 

.............you can lead a horse to water......!

 

Good luck with your advisor....I'd be interested to know what he/she suggests too.

Spiral :-0

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just to add that we had our ofsted inspection last week, she liked all our current methods of sharing with parents and suggested the wow board, and said that we should use the power of competative parents lol so for instance , ask them a question on the wow board and get one to write a post it note reply......not wanting to be out done by each other, it should encourage others to add more notes! lol well this remains to be seen .....we will be deploying the wow board to see how it works.......lol

I think that its one of those area's which will always be hard to cover.....some of our parents dont even read the journals independantly ( only looking at them with their key persons) and I have seen one of my very own left in a car for two weeks, i asked for it back .....they did confess to not looking at it !

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Its heartbreaking when you work so hard.

 

One of mine said she had lost the whole journal, it did show up when I told her it would be asked for by Ofsted as the child was needing moderation too!

 

This is one of the reasons I am interested in using Tapestry - so we have a backup copy.

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Hi klc - lots of great advice already - just wanted to add - ask your advisor what else she would suggest :1b

 

She suggested a 'WOW' board for parents to use to celebrate children's achievements at home. We did this and it was never used. She isn't coming again for quite a while as we got 'good' at our quality review in April.

 

I feel worse as we only have 10 parents as we are a very small setting so I feel we should be able to get it right! We do get a few photos from parents facebook pages so that is something that is working. We also send a sheet out each term to ask about children's interests etc. and we only get all of them back if I nag them at the start and end of each session!

Edited by klc106
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We also have a 'Wow' board and now send a named wow slip home every half term. This has increased the number returned and we also write our own wows for children who don't get any from home. Every time a parent tells us something about a child's interests, visits, achievements etc we will encourage them to put it on a slip or offer to do it for them.

korkycat

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Have to say we have a 'Wow' board it's not particularly used unless we really push it with parents or write it for them

 

To be honest when my children started in Reception a few years ago I was one of those mums who didn't do it, its not something I feel comfortable with :ph34r: I find it a little boastful and at times it got very silly and competitive between some parents

 

Not sure I should admit to this :ph34r:

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I'm not keen on the 'wow' board idea either to be honest especially as we had a little girl with very significant sen last year and I felt it was unfair as it highlighted her differences.

 

We tried it because the improvement advisor said to but I didn't really push it and it was hardly, if ever, used.

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We use 'wow' board and have found it fairly successful - have explained to parents that the 'wows' should not necessarily be about anything 'academic' just things that are 'special' to each child.........I keep an eye on what's happening and, as is the case sometimes, I will write a 'wow' myself if children aren't getting any from home :1b

 

My biggest 'frustration' last year was a parent who sent one in at every session - but we 'coped' with that by removing the displayed wow (and adding to his LJ folder) so that he didn't have loads more than other children! :1b

 

I did have one parent who really objected to the whole system - but hey ho - I'm too old and too tired to worry too much about that :ph34r: :blink: xDxDxD

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We have a WOW board too but emphasise that it is to celebrate anything that happens outside the setting and like Sunnyday not "academic" stuff. It might be going to a swimming lesson, having tea with a friend, visiting a relative - all quite "tame" but at the same time helps keep the two way flow of information going.

 

We give out a WOW each half term to all as a prompt and keep it information about doing WOWs as a fixture on all our newsletters.

 

We also have two "Bring Your Grown Up To School" weeks - one in the Spring and one in the Summer terms. We stopped the one in the autumn term as it was too disruptive when you have worked so hard to get everyone settled in. Grown ups can be any family member so Mum, Dad, Childminder, Granny, Grandad, Auntie etc. which helps with our working parents who can't make this sort of thing in the day. We tied the last one to when we had the "Living Eggs" in so that there was a real impetus for parents to come in because they also got to see our chicks hatching etc.

 

Other things include having teas and mince pies after the children have done their nativity play and fund raisers for special events e.g., Breast Cancer (we have lost parents and staff recently) and our local children's hospice which help bring parents in and build up a "pre-school community" feel.

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When we had Ofsetd I did admit that we struggled to get parents to engage in record keeping and the inspector told us that was not our problem, as long as we had given them the opportunity to do so.

OOOOH, I do hope I get the same inspector as you!!

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