15th February 2024 Early Years Foundation Stage

EYFS: Parent Partnerships for Child Development

Practitioners, children, and parents collaborating around a jigsaw puzzle, symbolizing parent partnerships as recommended by the EYFS

Research shows that involving parents and carers in their children’s learning is the most important factor in enabling some children to do well regardless of background. For nursery managers, cultivating strong partnerships with parents and carers is not just a best practice – it’s a central element of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

Overarching EYFS principles

A core principle of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) emphasises that children thrive in nurturing environments where they receive tailored support from responsive adults. This principle underscores the importance of fostering strong partnerships between practitioners, parents, and/or carers. By acknowledging children’s interests and needs, adults can effectively guide their learning journey, ensuring holistic development over time. Collaboration between all childcare providers and parents/carers creates an enriched environment where children can reach their full potential.

Supporting parents in becoming an educator in their child's life

Section 1 of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) outlines the learning and development requirements that early years providers must adhere to in partnership with parents and/or carers. These requirements are designed to promote the holistic learning and development of all children in their care, enabling positive contributions to their brain development and preparation for Key Stage 1. Informed by the latest evidence on child learning, these requirements encompass a diverse range of skills, knowledge, and attitudes essential for children’s present and future success. Early years providers play a crucial role in guiding children’s capabilities for future learning and development.

Supporting parents in becoming active educators in their child’s life is crucial, particularly during the critical developmental period from conception to two years old when a child’s brain undergoes rapid growth. It is during this time that experiences provided by parents and early years educators play a pivotal role in shaping the child’s cognitive and social-emotional development. It is imperative to recognise the significance of these early experiences in building the foundational skills that children will carry with them throughout their lives.

Often, as early years educators, you serve as the first consistent professionals in children’s lives, offering a unique opportunity to support parents in understanding the importance of child development. By offering guidance and resources from the moment parents step into your nursery, you lay the groundwork for a solid educational foundation that can be built upon. This support extends beyond the nursery walls, empowering parents to play an active role in their child’s ongoing learning journey.

The recent update from the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) underscores the significance of early brain development and the role of educators and parents in fostering growth and learning from the very beginning. By providing parents with the knowledge and tools they need to support their child’s development, we contribute to a holistic approach to education that sets the stage for lifelong learning and success.

The EYFS and the progress check at age two

The EYFS emphasises the importance of establishing trust with parents, particularly regarding the progress check at age two. Parents and/or carers are encouraged to share information from the progress check with relevant professionals, such as health visitors and staff from new childcare settings. Practitioners must collaborate with parents and/or carers to determine the best time to provide a summary of the progress check findings. 

It’s important to highlight that providers must obtain consent from parents and/or carers before sharing information directly with other relevant professionals. This ensures transparency and respect for parental involvement in their child’s developmental journey.

Communicating with parents and carers in line with the EYFS

Offering a variety of opportunities for parents and carers to actively engage in their children’s learning journey is essential. It’s important to address any potential barriers that may prevent their involvement, such as their past experiences with nursery, separation anxiety, language barriers, cultural differences, or diverse values. Working in partnership with parents outlines different ways you can involve parents with their children’s learning. 

Parents must trust your setting and feel comfortable sharing information as the EYFS underscores the importance of addressing concerns regarding children’s progress promptly. Section 1.13 emphasises the need for practitioners to discuss any worries about a child’s development with parents and/or carers, collaborating to determine suitable support measures. This includes assessing whether the child may require additional support, such as special educational needs or disability services. Collaborating with parents is key, and the framework outlines various ways to involve them in their children’s learning.

Section 3.82 outlines further information that providers must share with parents and/or carers:

  • How the EYFS is being delivered in the setting, and how parents and/or carers can access more information.
  • The range and type of activities and experiences provided for children, the daily routines of the setting, and how parents and carers can share learning at home.
  • How the setting supports children with special educational needs and disabilities.
  • Food and drinks are provided for children.
  • Details of the provider’s policies and procedures – making copies available on request. This includes the procedure to be followed in the event of a parent and/or carer failing to collect a child at the appointed time, or in the event of a child going missing at, or away from, the setting.
  • How staffing in the setting is organised.
  • The name of their child’s key person and their role.
  • A telephone number for parents and/or carers to contact the provider in an emergency.

In today’s digital age, nursery management software serves as a powerful tool for enhancing communication and engagement between nursery managers, educators, and parents and sharing the above information. The use of this technology provides a seamless platform for sharing valuable insights, observations, and updates about children’s learning experiences within the nursery setting.

This enables you to tailor learning experiences to meet the individual needs and interests of each child. Parents gain valuable insights into their child’s preferences, strengths, and areas for growth, allowing them to support and extend learning experiences into the home environment. This collaborative approach ensures that children receive personalised learning support both at nursery and at home.

The power of ParentZone

ParentZone is a valuable tool to enhance communication and engagement with parents or guardians. The app helps to create a transparent and collaborative partnership with parents, providing them with real-time access to their child’s learning journey and developmental progress. 

ParentZone facilitates seamless communication, allowing educators to share observations, photos, and videos of children’s activities, while also enabling parents to provide feedback and ask questions. 

If you want to experience how ParentZone works and see it for yourself, schedule a demo with our friendly team and experience firsthand the functionality and benefits of our nursery management software. Practitioners must collaborate with parents and/or carers to determine the best time to provide a summary of the progress check findings. 

Engage even the busiest parents with ParentZone

To experience ParentZone firsthand, book a demo with us today! Our team will guide you through the features and benefits of ParentZone, helping you understand how it can revolutionize parent engagement and simplify communication in your childcare setting.
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About the Author

Content Marketing Executive at Connect Childcare