The word ‘parent’ is used throughout to include anyone involved in bringing up children, including fathers, mothers, grandparents, step-parents, other family members and carers.
As a parent, you are of course the most important influence in your young child’s life. The relationships that you build with your children, the time that you spend with them and all the amazing things that you teach them in their first five years, build the foundations for their entire lives.
It is therefore crucial, that we as early educators, form strong partnerships with you right from the start. We aim to build close relationships with all our families and hope that through working together in partnership we can provide the best possible start in life for all your children.
We will encourage you to play a full and active role in your child’s nursery education as we know that it will make a real difference.
We operate a ‘Key Person System’ where every child and their family is allocated a special person – a key person, who aims to form a close bond with you, to build a relationship based on trust and mutual respect. Your key person should be your first point of contact at nursery and will always be happy to answer your questions, chat to you about your child’s learning and progress and address any worries or concerns you may have.
Before children start at nursery two members of staff will make a visit to your home to meet you and your child. Visiting you at home is a good idea because it is a place where you and your child feel comfortable and relaxed. When you welcome us into your home, your child sees us as friends. Children need to see that the people who are going to be caring for them are friendly and trusted by you.
We come to chat about your child and answer any questions that you may have about them starting nursery. We like to find out as much information about your child as we can and can help you fill in any forms that we need for our records. Usually, the visit lasts about half an hour. We will bring a few toys and books for your child to look at and play with. In this way, they become interested in talking about what they could play with when they come to nursery.
We aim to visit you in the week before your child is going to start nursery. This is so that the gap between seeing us and starting nursery is as short as possible for your child. They see us in their own home and the following week they come to play with us at nursery.
Parents are usually very positive about Home Visiting. They say that it helps their child settle quickly into nursery. It is also useful to start to build relationships with the adults at nursery, and to see them as people that they can be confident in, who are friendly and who will take good care of their child.
You will be contacted about a Home Visit near to the time that your child is due to start nursery. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact us.
Record of Achievement Books
When your child starts nursery, their key person will make them a Record of Achievement Book – a special book for you and your child to keep and cherish forever! This book is a place for you and us to record all the things that your child is interested in, learning and achieving during this amazing time in their lives. It will be a fantastic collection of photographs, quotes and comments, pieces of work and observations put together by all the people who spend time with your child and know them best. Children gain so much from having a book all about them and will especially enjoy showing it to you and other people close to them. Children’s Record of Achievement Books are available for them (and you) to look at anytime and we encourage you to take them home often.
It is really important that you are actively involved in adding to this book and we are happy for you to do this in any way you choose. Here are some suggestions:
- Email us photos from your phone (we can help with this if you’re unsure). These can be of anything at all but celebrations, holidays, days out, family events are always good.
- Take a photo of something you have done together at home i.e. building a tower, baking a cake, setting the table and write a sentence or tell us about what you did.
- Bring in a drawing your child has done at home
- Write down or tell us something funny your child has said
- Take a photo of your child when you’re out and about – in the park or at the hairdressers
It really doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do something! Don’t worry about the writing – we can do that for you, or the technology, we can help with that as well! It is so worthwhile making the time for this - the book will be yours to keep when your child leaves nursery, a unique and invaluable record of all they have achieved in their youngest years.
We are always available to talk to you about your child and are more than happy to do so - briefly at the start or end of sessions or if you need a bit longer at a prearranged appointment. Please feel free to ask – anytime! Also – your child’s key person will invite you in to nursery three times a year to a Parents Meeting where we will spend time discussing the important issues around your child. We will talk to you about their speech, language and communication, about their interests, progress and learning and any concerns that we or you may have. It is vital that you attend these meetings and we will strongly encourage you to do so, arranging a time that works for you. Rather than taking the attitude – “Oh they’re only young, there’s plenty of time for meeting with teachers when they go to school” we will impress upon you the importance of meeting with us whilst your child is young as it is now that our work together can make the most difference. We will talk to you about your child’s ‘next steps’ in their development and learning and think about how we can work together both at home and at nursery to make sure they are happy, healthy and excited to learn. We know that you will want the best for your child and hope that you will make every effort to attend.
Parents in Nursery
We welcome parents into nursery at all times and would love you to spend time with us as often as possible. If you are interested in coming in to see how we do things: how children Learn Through Play, what happens at Group Time, what’s the big deal about Outdoor Learning, or anything else – we are more than happy to welcome you and answer your questions. Speak to your key worker and arrange a time that suits you. Or - if you have a particular skill or interest that you would like to share with us we would be delighted to arrange this. Maybe you’re a keen gardener, musician or artist or are simply interested in reading with children - just let us know and we can work out the best way to make it happen. Also – we are always in need of parent (or aunty, grandpa, older brother) volunteers to accompany us on visits outside nursery. Infact - we need you to come in order to make trips out happen, so please help out whenever you can!
Children who come to nursery regularly and on time are: Happier and more settled, make friends easier and make more progress.
There are lots of positive benefits to be gained from regular attendance at Nursery; this includes not only coming to every booked session, but also being there on time. Benefits include the following:
· It builds in young children the idea that getting up and going to nursery or school is simply what you do.
· Children who attend every booked session develop a feel for the rhythm of the week and gain a sense of security from some regular elements, even when the actual pattern or focus of their learning or activity may vary widely from week to week.
· Young children find it easier to build and sustain a range of social relationships when they regularly attend their childcare setting. Regular times arranged with parents help to develop a secure attachment within the setting.
· For some families, particularly at times of stress, the child’s regular attendance at a setting allows parents to get other things done and helps them enjoy spending time with the child when he or she is at home
· Children who rarely miss sessions at an early years setting and come on time are more likely to feel good about themselves. This is because they know what goes on and what to expect, feel more confident with the adults and the other children and have more opportunities to be valued and praised for their own special contribution.
· Children who regularly miss sessions or are generally late, can frequently experience a sense of having to try a little bit harder just to understand what is going on and what other children are talking about or doing.
· Regular attendance, on time, helps many young children to separate from their parents or carers at the start of the day and settle more readily into daily life in their setting
Learning and Development.
· Staff carefully plan every session for each child in their care and want to take every opportunity to help them thrive. Experiences gained in one session are often developed further in the next session, whether or not these are consecutive days.
· Children learn in many different ways through play with others and through being in the company of staff who actively support their learning and development.
· Underachievement is often linked to lower attendance. For some older students this is linked to a steadily deteriorating trend in attendance which is traceable right back to their Early Years settings.