Working in Partnership with Parents

It is important to work in partnership with parents when it comes to a child's learning and wellbeing. There is a range of support, groups and advice to support these relationships.

Parents as partners in learning

Supporting parents and sharing with them how children learn will enable them to play an active role in their children's learning. This contribution can make a valuable and lasting difference to children's lives and in turn outcomes.

Children learn about the world and their place within it through their conversations, play activities, and routines with parents and families. By working together, both parents and practitioners can enhance children's learning and development.

In their early years, children learn more than in any later stage of their lives. They are curious. Everyday life is full of opportunities to discover new things.

Children's wellbeing, learning and development

Excellent partnerships with parents and carers help children to thrive and flourish. Parents are the central adults in their child's life and the ones who make decisions on their behalf.

It is very important for the children that we work in partnership with each other. This gives children the continuity of care and ensures that they do not become confused with different standards of behaviour and boundaries.

Early Learning Partnership Parental Engagement Group (ELPPEG)

The ELPPEG was formed in 2009 by lead people from organisations who had come together through the Early Learning Partnership Programme (ELPP) strand 3, 2007–2008, funded by the DCSF. The overarching aim of this strand of the project was to help create and support an early year's workforce with the skills, knowledge and disposition to build respectful relationships with parents of children under three, and to help parents to support their children's innate readiness to learn.

In addition, the project aimed to extend early years practitioners' continued professional development.

Framework document from the ELPPEG - outlines the principles for engaging with families.

    The importance of Dads reading with their children

    There is a wealth of research showing the positive impact dads reading to their children has on children’s development, particularly boys. For instance;

    • Pre-schoolers whose dads read and talk to them a lot behave and concentrate better at nursery, and do better in math as well (Baker, 2013).
    • When fathers of 1-2 year olds read lots of books to them, their children tend to be more interested in books later (Lyytinen et al, 1998).
    • At age five, their children know and use more words, can pick out letters more accurately, and are better at problem solving; by age ten, their vocabulary is wider and their math skills are better, too (McKelvey et al, 2010).

    We know that dads role modelling reading for pleasure is a key factor in how likely boys are to read for pleasure. Research is also starting to show that dads read differently to their children. When mum’s read, they often focus more on the feelings of the characters and the story itself, while dads are more likely to initiate discussions or turn the story into a game. Both are beneficial to the child of course, but the male instinctive focus is more cognitive which can specifically help to further support language development.

    Consider what you can do in your setting to support dads to read more with their children, including the sharing of non-fiction books or articles.

    Share Reading Rockets article with your families.

    Working with families who speak little English

    It is reported that in the last five years there has been a 20% rise in the number of school children who speak a foreign language at home.

    According to latest statistics from the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum, it is recorded that there are currently more than a million children between the ages of five and 16 in UK schools who speak more than 360 languages between them.

    Building effective respectful relationships with families whose English is minimal demands thoughtful staff. Below are some useful links to develop and support practice:

    Last update: Thursday 12th of September 2019 10:24:42 AM