Parents as partners

by Caroline Gee. Parents and teachers working together can really extend a child's development.

Woman and child with pencil and paper

Introduction

Parents are a child's first and most enduring educators - but when your child starts nursery or school, they will be spending a large part of their time in a different learning environment.

Parents and key workers/teachers have a lot to learn from each other and, by working together, they can really support and extend a child's development.

This two-way flow of information, knowledge and expertise helps provide a full and rounded picture of your child.

As a parent or carer there are lots of fun ways you can engage with your child's learning at home.

How CBeebies can help

It's nice to store away some learning momentoes and keepsakes as your child grows up. Why not make a snazzy suitcase in which to keep all the important things that your child makes, draws and writes?

There are instructions on the Make and Colour pages for how to make a box suitcase out of a cereal box. Paint and decorate the box together and then help your child choose some special things to put inside.

You could stick a picture or photo of your child on the front of the suitcase and pop in any observations or comments you have about their strengths, abilities or the activities they enjoy taking part in.

How to make a magic moment

It's time to Stop-Look-Listen! When your child is playing at home, take some time to stop and observe what they are doing.

Take a photo to show what they are engaged in and make some notes about what they are saying and doing. You could try capturing their voices using a tape recorder. Your child will love to see and hear themselves - it's just like being a film star!

You could build up these observations to make a scrapbook of activities you and your child enjoy doing together. Why not share them with your child's teacher or key worker?

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Expert opinion

Parents provide a learning environment which is enduring and complete. It begins before birth, operates beyond the child's day in a setting [e.g. nursery or school] and provides continuity as the child transfers from one setting to another.

Over 70% of children's lives are spent, not in a setting, but with their families and wider community. Therefore, home and community must be recognised as significant learning environments.

Early Years Foundation Stage document, Effective practice - parents as partners

Top tips

  • The best partnerships involve open communication. Let the practitioners (e.g. nursery staff or teachers) know how and when it is best to contact you. Contact doesn't have to just be face-to-face - information can be also passed on in other ways such as email or letter.The term 'parents as partners' needn't exclusively mean mum and dad! All family members are important and should be welcomed and valued in your child's setting.Be confident that what you already do with your child at home is valuable, but also be open to any ideas the teacher or key worker has to help support and enhance your child's development.Make full use of any opportunities to attend workshops and meetings (e.g. parent evenings) concerning different elements of your child's education. Always ask if there is anything that seems unclear - your child's teacher is there to help!Remember, parents are the experts on their own child and practitioners are the experts on the child's learning and development. By being partners, you can help achieve the best outcome for your child.

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