The importance of building relationships and making links with parents and carers is crucial. Working with parents and carers is very beneficial to children’s learning and development. As children come into school with different experiences and many different needs, the main source of information about children is from their parents or main carers.
Parents and carers are treated as partners as they are the pupil’s first and most influential educators. Working together helps to secure long-term benefits that have a positive impact on a child’s development and learning experiences. Parents and carers may also feel more encouraged and supportive towards the school if they are fully engaged in the life of the school.
There are many ways in which children benefit when parents and carers and practitioners work together:
There are many ways in which school staff can try to build up a good relationship between a child’s home and the setting:
There may be times when parents and carers will need to be contacted quickly for example, their child is not feeling well, has had an accident etc. Exchanging emergency information is extremely important. It is vital that we have up to date contact information to hand i.e. emergency numbers and addresses. These are usually exchanged during the pre-admission meeting.
We encourage parental involvement as parents/ carers often have a lot to offer in terms of their knowledge, interests, experience, and in volunteering for activities. Working together can also help bring the community closer together.
We encourage our parents/ carers to get involved in the school life and some parents/ carers offer help permanently i.e. ‘reading mums’ in school once a week; others may help out occasionally on school visits as an extra ‘pair of hands’. Some parents/ carers find that working as a volunteer boosts their confidence and gives them chance to meet other parents/ carers of children with disabilities.
A good working partnership means that our parents/ carers enjoy coming in to school. The school also benefits as we gain extra help and benefit from having extra adult support. We also realise that being friendly with parents/ carers is not the same as being ‘friends’ as this may cause unnecessary problems i.e. parents/ carers asking for confidential information, or asking to let unwell children remain in school. Professional boundaries must be maintained at all times to avoid any misunderstandings.