We’re introducing a new feature to the front page of the FSF called ‘Coffee Break’. Here you will find quick reads to get you thinking, keep you informed and to support you in your working day. You can dip in and out whenever you have a moment (not just when you’ve managed to pour yourself a coffee!). We hope you enjoy them.
As we begin a new school year, many settings are getting to know new children and new families.
This first Coffee Break takes a moment to reflect on just a few aspects of partnership with parents and carers in the Early Years.
- ‘Partnership’ is the key word here – it implies trust and respect, working together as equals for the benefit of each child, and staff and families valuing each other’s contributions.
- Partnership needs communication – whether on paper or online, settings are sharing each child’s learning experiences with parents and carers, and families are engaging and adding their experiences from home.
- Partnership requires flexibility – there are so many pressures on family life and things rarely go according to plan! We all have days when we are running late, or it is impossible to get a wriggly baby and a sticky toddler out of their PJs!
- We all need to be given time to talk and to be listened to – parents, carers, children, and staff.
- Some parents and carers are not as well represented as others – how can you find ways of reaching out to, and bringing in, those harder to reach families?
- Working with parents and carers supports children in the transitions they make in their day – home, childminder, nursery, grandparent…the list may be long, and all those adults are part of the care of our youngest children.
- Partnership with parents and carers helps you know each child better. You will know the experiences they bring with them as they arrive at your setting and this will help you plan a learning journey full of ‘awe and wonder’ for each child. As Wendy Ratcliff (HMI) explains in an article for PACEY, knowing each child is a key part of cultural capital in the early years.
This is just a drop in the ocean of the reasons why partnership between the adults in a child’s life is so important.
As you finish this Coffee Break, hopefully you’ll be reminded that all around the country there are rewarding connections with families being made right now.