10 ways for improving parental engagement
‘Fast paced’, is a phrase I would use to describe today’s society; we are always busy with engagements, work, social and family life. Parents are often in a rush when they drop their children off at nursery and when they collect, so the relationship between nursery and parents can be difficult to develop at times. Parents are the reason why nurseries exist, so it is in our interest to provide them with an exceptional service, recommendations are best from happy customers!
Many of the following top 10 ideas you will probably already be doing, but sometimes reviewing and reflecting is how we can improve and build upon our existing success. Making changes and improvements, and by involving your staff teams during meetings may help to generate new ideas and thoughts, that you may not have thought about. Change should be seen as a positive step forward, safe in the knowledge that you are always developing and improving.
1. Social Events
Seasonal parties for parents and children to attend the nursery for an afternoon of fun, is a great way to have more of a community feel to the setting and allow parents to meet other parents in a relaxed manner.
2. Online Platforms
Blossom Educational offers parents and nurseries the opportunity to share information, update children’s progress and give parents the opportunity to check in on their child’s development at a time convenient for them. Therefore, no information is missed or forgotten about.
3. Social Media
This is one of the most powerful communicative tools in today’s world. Not only can you share information instantly, but it is free to use and most parents have immediate access to most social media accounts, allowing you to keep up to date. Social media can also support you in engaging new potential parents, as you can share blogs and pictures of your setting allowing them an insight into your setting.
4. Parents Evening
This supports the relationship between key worker and parent, and allows both to have dedicated time to talk about the child’s developmental progress, aptitudes, interests and needs. It is also important to have a holistic view of each child and learn about them in the home environment, obtaining the parents views and thoughts. Parents know their children better than anyone else, therefore practitioners should be mindful to ensure they communicate and share information with them about their child in order to develop the best possible outcomes for each individual.
5. Stay & Play Sessions
This enables parents to have an insight into the nursery day, understanding what their child does, the type of activities they get involved in, how they socialise, and also an opportunity to meet other parents creating a homely and friendly ambience.
6. Fundraising Events
Give parents the opportunity to support their child in supporting a good cause. It can encourage participation in the home environment, for example baking food together to bring in to the nursery setting, or putting together costumes to wear to nursery for a day. These are just some examples, however they continue to build the relationship and participation between nursery and home.
7. Information Evenings
These are a personal favourite way to engage parents as they offer the opportunity to come to the nursery on an evening to learn about a certain topic and support knowledge. An example could be, ‘sensory play in the home environment’ or ‘how to support school readiness’. Including topics that are relevant or that parents have asked for advice and support on are great ways to encourage discussion and involvement within the setting.
8. Personalised Activities
Taking an interest in the lives of the children that attend your setting and then putting together personalised activities based on this, means parents feel included and that the nursery takes an interest in them individually. For example, including activities based around a child’s culture, often parents are willing to come into nursery and talk about where their family comes from and their traditions.
9. Staff Training
Ensuring your staff team are always developing their knowledge base and understanding means they will feel more comfortable to communicate and offer support and advise to the parents at your setting. Training is hugely important and offering staff the opportunity to become more self confident in their roles is essential.
This is the key to success. Improving engagement is all about how you effectively communicate with parents. Using all of the above tools and ensuring you are approachable yet professional will instill confidence in the parents and give them a means to want to become more involved in your setting.
Effective practitioners are reflective practitioners.
- The Childcare Guru
Written by Jamie Victoria
Jamie Victoria, AKA the Childcare Guru, has worked as a, nursery manager, forest school leader and deputy head. Today she offers bespoke consultancy and training for early years settings as well as forest school sessions and much more. Find her at www.thechildcareguru.co.uk