5 Tips on Supporting Parents and Carers with New Transitions in September
Starting nursery is an exciting chapter in a child’s life but it is important to remember that some parents may feel anxious and overwhelmed by this. This transition can sometimes be as difficult for parents as it is for the children.
In this blog post, we will discuss 5 ways in which you can help parents feel at ease when their children begin nursery or transition to a new room.
1. Working in partnership with parents and carers
The concept of early years education may cause some confusion for parents when their children are beginning nursery or pre-school. It is valuable for parents to have an understanding of the range and type of activities and experiences your setting provides for children, as well as the daily routines of the setting, and how parents and carers can share learning at home.
Here GOV.uk provides help for early years providers outlining the importance of working in partnership with parents and carers. It is thought that involving parents and carers in their children’s learning enables children to do well regardless of their background.
Working in partnership with parents and carers is central to the early years foundation stage (EYFS). We have created this handy guide for parents and carers that introduces them to the EYFS and explains why these standards are followed throughout early years education. Sharing this document with parents and carers will help them gain a better understanding of the framework and what it means for them. It is important to inform parents and carers of how the EYFS will be delivered in your setting and how they can get involved with their children’s learning and development.
2. Inviting parents in for settling-in sessions
It is considered good practice to invite parents and carers to your setting to show them what it is like and explain the children’s daily routine. Many settings have settling-in sessions where parents and carers are invited to visit the setting with their children to allow them to get used to the unfamiliar smells, sights and sounds of their new environment. These sessions enable key workers to build a relationship with both the parents and carers as well as the child before they begin their sessions in your setting.
During settling-in sessions, parents and carers should be welcomed to share all they can about themselves and their children. During the sessions, practitioners can take the opportunity to find out about the children’s family and community culture, as well as personal histories. It is important to have an understanding of this information to put both the parent, carers and children at ease as this will make them more comfortable as they both transition into your childcare setting.
Value parents and carers as the children’s first educators and provide them with the opportunity to contribute to the whole of their child’s journey throughout their time in your setting. Settling-in sessions are essential in building trust, showing how you respond to their child and their needs. It also gives them the opportunity to see first-hand how you tailor their child’s learning, considering their individual likes and interests. Settling-in sessions are the perfect way to kick start a strong relationship, introducing the concept of working together to share knowledge to understand children’s interests and discover how best to support their learning going forward.
3. Building and maintaining positive partnerships with parents and carers
Effective communication establishes understanding and trust. When practitioners and parents or carers understand and trust each other, it is more likely that they are able to work together simultaneously to support children’s wellbeing and development.
For professionals working with parents and carers, a positive partnership means sharing knowledge and experience to understand how children are learning, developing and growing. Effective communication opens the doorway to collaboration with everybody working together to support the child. Collaborative working provides children with stability and can improve their educational outcomes.
PACEY suggest this top tip, “be flexible in your approach to communication with parents. Think about how you might need to adapt to suit different parents, for example, those with English as an additional language or a specific learning need. Also, make sure it’s the right time to share information without having to rush off.”
It is important for practitioners to consider how to overcome barriers they may experience when working in partnership with parents and carers. For example, parents and carers own experiences of nursery, separation, language, culture and different values may affect their feelings and opinions of early years education.
There are many ways to involve and build positive relationships with parents and carers. Check out our new parental engagement guide.
4. Parent/carer information and new starter packs
It may be helpful to parents and carers if they have access to a parent and carer pack before their children begin attending your setting. These information packs can prepare parents and carers and advise them on what to expect when their child begins nursery.
What to include in your parent packs:
- A welcome and introduction from the nursery manager.
- Background information about the nursery.
- Opening Times.
- Contact number, email address and Ofsted registration number.
- Your settings mission statement, values and ethos.
- Session information- including funding information.
- Your first day at nursery- what to bring and nursery routines.
- Policies- including sickness and medication, accidents and incidents and safeguarding.
- Breakfast, tea and lunch menus.
- Frequently asked questions.
As a special touch, some nurseries give parents a small gift to help them feel comforted on their child’s first day. These don’t have to be expensive but let parents know that you are thinking about them on this special day.
The packs could include:
- A packet of tissues: to wipe away your tears (hopefully there are very few).
- A tea bag: to encourage you to put your feet up and enjoy the peace and quiet.
- A KitKat: take a break and have a kitkat.
5. Provide good quality feedback to strengthen communication
It is important to involve parents and carers in their children’s learning, this can be achieved by good communication and feedback about their children’s day at nursery. Sharing information can be used as an opportunity to set up a two-way communication with parents and carers about their child’s learning.
Our award winning app iConnect, allows you to share observations of children learning something new in nursery. When used along with our award winning parent communication app, ParentZone, parent communication could not be stronger. ParentZone allows you to exchange observations with parents and carers. This can be incredibly useful, as parents can even upload their own observations from their time outside of nursery to give you a more complete view of a child’s learning experiences.
ParentZone can help give parents and carers peace of mind by allowing them to have regular updates about their childs day, including what they have eaten, nappy changes and nap times. When parents and carers are away from their little one, they can access a gallery of photos to provide comfort.