The New Year brings with it a fresh start and hope for exciting beginnings. No doubt, there is a long list of new year’s resolutions you hope to achieve for your nursery school this year. And if we’re being honest, most of them concern Covid.
Although the virus will eventually be old news, one thing is certain: ensuring your nursery has effective parent teacher communication is not going away anytime soon.
Difficulties maintaining parent teacher communication during Covid
In fact, after interviewing nursery schools around the UK, (and owning a group of 5 nurseries ourselves) the sector emphasises clearly the importance of parent teacher communication. It stressed how, during the pandemic, it has been one of the hardest aspects to build and maintain. As a result, practitioners have been struggling with making parents feel more included in their child’s life.
With Covid restrictions in place, parents get to see less and less of the value your nursery is providing for their child. A quick ‘hello’ at the pick-up (while hidden behind a mask) does not do your nursery school justice. Parents do not see all their child’s activities and achievements for the day – but instead get met with a tired child (and often practitioner too). Leaving the question ringing behind in their head: What is this nursery school actually doing for my child?
While building parent teacher relationships has never been a “snap your fingers” kind of task, there are certain methods (and tools) to use that can help make even the grumpiest of parents happy. Read on as we explore suggestions such as:
Give parents peace of mind about children's day to to day activities
As you know, parents love to be included in all aspects of their little one’s life. Every detail is appreciated. And we really mean it. Conversations about poo and wee are not to be poo-pooed. By simply informing parents about their child’s day, you provide critical information that they can use to continue their child’s care at home. Talk about things like what they have eaten, if they slept at nap time, or how much milk they have drunk. Whether it is a quick WhatsApp or detailed email, this is all useful and valuable information that you are providing to your parents- which they will appreciate. For example, if they know their child did not eat very much during the day, they will know to focus on getting something in their tummy for supper.
What to do? Of course, practitioners can have a trusty paper file to jot down observations manually. However, if you require something more automated, Blossom’s ‘diary’ feature is useful for this. With this feature, practitioners can log detailed information about the child such as nappies, meals, sleeps, and bottles drunk. Practitioners can also send updates to parents of their child’s activities- and even snap a picture to send. This helps your parents to feel involved in their child’s learning.
Create an opportunity for parents to tell the nursery what their child has been up to
Particularly during Covid (where children are spending more time with their parents) the old saying of “Parents are a child’s first teacher” couldn’t be more true. Lots of important moments happen while at home. Why not give parents a chance to communicate with the nursery what they have observed about their child? This will not only help the parent to feel more connected to the nursery and their child, but also give practitioners valuable insight into the child’s learning.
Having received this information, practitioners are able to provide the next steps the parent can take at home to continue that learning. This helps to communicate to the parent that the nursery is taking steps to look at their child holistically and as an individual. On the Blossom system, the ‘observations from home’ feature are proving valuable to our users for this. Parents feel like they have an outlet to talk to the nursery. You are able to log observations according to both the EYFS principles and the Montessori way of teaching. This provides you with the ability to keep a continuous record of a child’s development. Again, practitioners/ parents can capture a picture of the moment, once again strengthening that parent teacher communication.
Bonus: Logging observations of the child both at the nursery and at home aids the practitioner in terms of content planning. See how Blossom’s observations feature can improve your nursery’s activity planning.
Additionally, as you know, children’s likes and dislikes are changing all the time. It is easy to let updating this kind of information slip by. Consider providing an opportunity for the parent to update their child’s interests and dislikes. This will help strengthen parent teacher communication. This can be via text, email or a quick phone call if you’d like.
What has been useful for our nurseries is the ‘likes and dislikes’ feature Blossom offers. Parents can go into the parent app directly and update their child’s information, which helps keep practitioners on top of things. The nursery will be notified and practitioners can adjust the child’s activities/food etc accordingly. This helps improve the well-being and development of the child.
Keep parents connected with what’s happening at your nursery
One way to strengthen parent teacher communication is to inform parents about what is happening at your nursery. Gave the nursery a fresh coat of paint? Inform the parents. A clown is coming next week to give the children a laugh? Inform the parents. Hired a new receptionist? Inform the parents. You get the idea. This helps give visibility to all things happening in the background at your nursery, which benefits that parent teacher communication.
This is where having a nursery newsletter is beneficial. It is the opportunity to provide all your updates regarding all aspects of your nursery school. It is especially important to keep conversations going with your parents during Covid times, so once normal life goes back to normal, you can pick up where you left off- and not have to start from scratch! Printing out newsletters for the little ones to take home just isn’t an option with Covid. If you haven’t already, try out an email automation software. Lots of companies have free trial options, so you can investigate which one fulfills your nursery’s need best.
However, unfortunately as history tells, you cannot always rely on parents to read the emails the nursery sends out. Maybe it gets sent to spam, or simply lost in the inbox. For Blossom users, when any communication is sent to the parent via the parent app, the parent’s phone will ping, notifying a message from the nursery. Therefore increasing the chances of your newsletter actually being read. Additionally, you can create and publish your newsletter all within the Blossom system thanks to the newsletter feature. If you think this will be beneficial for your nursery school, experience the Blossom system yourself.
Lastly, we know that this is a daunting period for any parent. Feelings of being overwhelmed from home teaching and finding activities to do are not uncommon. However, it is important to keep up with your parents and simply communicate with them. In whatever form. Talk about their child’s day, encourage parents to send home observations and keep parents connected with updates on your nursery, and you will be step further to strengthening that parent teacher bond.