Early childhood education doesn’t only take place in early learning services. It is happening every day as children make their way through life and explore the world around them.
As educators, we use our expertise and passion to support children’s learning and development during these crucial years by setting up the foundation and building blocks to underpin their exploration.
It’s vital that we consider how we can work collaboratively with families to foster a valuable early childhood education outside of children’s services.
This quote from early childhood education expert Dr Ba Akhlagh says it beautifully:
“Family involvement is about understanding what families do at home and inviting them to be involved, for example by sharing drawings, pictures, stories, and cuisines to show how many different lived experiences there are between children in one classroom” – Dr Ba Akhlagh
Consider Quality Area 6 under the National Quality Standard — this recognises the importance of creating collaborative partnerships between educators and families. Quality Area 6 ‘Collaborative partnerships with families and communities’ states that this relationship is fundamental to achieving the best outcomes for children — and we agree.
An inclusive experience for all families
When getting to know children, we must also come to understand their families to provide a thoughtful and impactful early childhood education.
We often talk about being inclusive of all children, but it’s important that we are also fostering an inclusive environment for all families. Every family is unique and we must strive to create learning experiences that can carry through to home that are inclusive of all families from diverse backgrounds.
Providing support to families
Accessibility and guidance are crucial in promoting family involvement with early childhood education. Some families may want to further nurture their child’s learning and development at home, but simply don’t know how or where to begin.
These tips can help you to improve your collaborative relationships with families and in turn have a positive impact on your NQS rating too.
Tips for enhancing collaborative relationships
Focus on communication
Communication is the key to beginning a solid, rewarding relationship, no matter who it involves. Encourage an open line of communication between parents and educators.
This can include posters, emails, Facebook groups, notes sent home, a welcoming space at centres and an invitation to call the centre as needed. Share ideas, feedback, concerns, reminders, invitations – you’re a team! The shared goal of educators and families is to provide children with a fantastic start in life.
Host inclusive events
Life can certainly be busy, but when something special comes up most people are willing to do their best to make it work. Don’t forget to create opportunities for families and centres to have a little fun outside of the normal day-to-day routines.
Picnic dinners are cost effective and simple. Everyone can bring a plate and share food at the local park – a great example of a family-friendly event that gets everyone together in a community-minded way.
Pointing families in the direction of practical resources that carry what’s happening when a child is attending early childhood services through to home.
Bonkers Beat strengthens relationships with families even further by providing families CDs, books, Yoga cards, and other resources to enhance the centre curriculum and enjoyment at home. This even helped us to receive an Excellent Rating in 2018!
This year we’ve been working on creating a range of printable resources which are linked to Bonkers Beat songs. These resources can be used at home by families, utilised by educators at any service and offer seamless continuation of children’s learning from service to home.
Fostering meaningful relationships for meaningful outcomes
Keep working on creating meaningful and powerful relationships with families to give children the ultimate early childhood education experience! We can’t wait to hear how you go!
Don’t forget if you need resources head over to our shop and purchase ready-to-use educational packs to get all the children singing!