The importance of building relationships and making links with parents/carers is crucial. Working with parents/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/carers should be treated as partners as they are the pupil’s first and most influential educators. Working together will help secure long-term benefits that will have a positive impact on a child’s development and learning experiences. Parents/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/carers and practitioners work together:
There are many ways in which staff in school can try to build up a good relationship between a child’s home and the setting:
There may be times when parents/carers will need to be contacted quickly for example, their child is not feeling well, had an accident etc. Exchanging emergency information is extremely important. It is vital that we have the correct and up to date information to hand i.e. emergency numbers and addresses 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 school life and some parents/carers offer help permanently i.e. ‘reading mums’ in school once a week; others may help occasionally on school visits. Some parents/carers find that working as a volunteer boosts their confidence and gives them chance to meet other parents/carers with children with disabilities.
A good working partnership means that 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 misunderstandings.