Parents and carers are the most significant influence on their child’s development and studies show that the quality of the home learning environment has a stronger effect on children’s intellectual and social development than any other factor.
So it's no surprise that the partnerships between you and your nursery children's parents are absolutely crucial.
So, why are these partnerships so important?
The EYFS Statutory Framework
identifies such relationships as an essential element of ‘Enabling Environments
’. By sharing information, you and parents can respond to your nursery children’s individual needs and support their learning and development. A Key Person's role in engaging and supporting parents and carers in guiding their child’s development at home is especially important.
By having positive relationships with parents
, you can ensure children’s safety and emotional well-being too. Effective communication and a strong sense of trust will help the settling-in process and any other transitions for the child.
Having a positive relationship with your nursery parents will also help to pave the way for difficult or sensitive conversations you may need to have with parents. Parents are more likely to seek support when they need it if they feel they have a strong relationship with you.
What do positive relationships look like?
Positive relationships are based on trust, transparency and mutual respect. They require two-way communication: listening, responding and finding creative solutions together - not just providing information!
Relationship-based working is about being warm, supportive and empathetic. It means you are available, interested and non-judgmental.
Relationships with your nursery parents will begin from your first encounter with them – this may be on a visit to the setting, an initial home visit or on their child’s first day. So it is important to demonstrate these qualities and values from the very start.
Possible barriers you may face
Now, developing strong relationships with your nursery parents and carers is not always easy!
Working parents may have little time to stop and chat, and may find it difficult to take time off work to attend events or workshops. Parents who don’t drop off or pick up their child, and/or who don’t live with their child, may have little contact with the setting and feel out of the loop.
Parents with limited English may find it difficult to communicate with staff. And parents who are are feeling stressed or struggling with issues at home may feel unable to take part in family sessions or to share their worries.