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Partnership with Parents and Carers in the Early Years Setting

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Childcare
Wordcount: 2026 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Discuss how early years settings can demonstrate commitment to working in partnership with parents and carers, by outlining how getting involved in their children’s learning and development matters

This essay is going to discuss how early years settings can demonstrate commitment to working in partnership with parents and carers, by outlining how getting involved in their children’s learning and development matters. It will outline that a good partnership will benefit not only the parent but the setting. It will also demonstrate the role of the Keyperson and information sharing, why it is so important in aiding a child’s learning and development. Furthermore, it will discuss the difficulties that may occur when working with parents and suggest how these barriers can be overcome.

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Building relationships with parents and gaining knowledge on the family Is important because it reduces the possibility of stereotyping. ‘Wheeler and Connor (2009) highlight the importance of viewing parents as individuals without stereotyping “there is as much diversity within perceived ‘groups’ as between them” (2009 p. 30).   Furthermore, environmental factors may challenge parental attitudes towards nursery and education. Ward (2013) claims that in order to engage all parents effectively, settings must use a variety of approaches which will change constantly to fit the wide range of backgrounds, needs and experiences of families.

Recognising how this may challenge parents’ attitudes to the nursery and addressing the possible discrimination can aid effective communication between parents and practitioners.  Wheeler and Connor (2009) discuss these factors further with attention to explaining to parents the importance of learning through play. The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) study found activities and outings undertaken by parents and their parents found to link with higher intellect and social skills Siraj-Blatchford, Clarke & Needham, (2007). Trying to engage parents who are reluctant can be challenging and time-consuming but proves beneficial not only to the children but to the practitioners and parents. Macleod-Brundenell, Kay (2008) states that being inclusive is important, even though the learning maybe different, through approach we should aim to achieve the same goal. They further suggest that for a partnership to be effective, the communication between the practitioner and the parent should be genuinely encouraging. Hobarrt & Frankel (2009) suggests that to allow a child to reach their full potential the support and positive involvement from parents and professional workers such as child care providers is essential and extremely important.

To establish an ongoing dialogue early years settings need to work with parents to enhance learning and development with the child, share information of the child’s progress and achievements and to support learning at home these are all expectations of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). The EYFS (DfE, 2017) states that ‘settings must share information with parents and must enable regular flow of information between the setting and parents. The EYFS (DfE, 2017) also states that communication is vital when creating partnerships with parents. Macleod Brundell (2004) supports this by defining that clear ability to collaborate and communicate with parents’ shows strong indication of success. Clarke and French (2013) also back this by saying that communication is crucial when working in partnership with parents and to ensure that parents contributions are valued.

 In all early years’ settings, it is a requirement in the EYFS, that every child must have a key person. Edwards (2002) suggests that when a child has a key person and has a real attachment to the child it eases the separation anxiety of the child from the parent, giving them the feeling of security. Having a keyperson allowed and provided the child and parent with the opportunity to build a trusting relationship (DfE, 2017). This method is recognised as beneficial to the child, parent and setting which is like the ‘triangle of care’ highlighted within the Start Right report (1994). Nutbrown (2011) also talks about this role as a ‘complex’ triangle relationship between the practitioner, child and parent. However, Dowling (2005) believes that parents have their own views that don’t necessary coincide with the setting.  Ball (1994) refers to the importance of an equal, active partnership between parents and professionals with further acknowledgement of parents as primary educators in their child’s learning.

Millam (2011) suggests that parents having different values and beliefs to practitioners can prevent them from providing a platform on which the partnership can grow. Drake, (2006) states that care providers should recognise both parents equally making them feel relaxed. According to Palm (2014) fathers tend to be more stimulating and active play partners. Pen Green successfully developed a workshop to encourage fathers to participate in the children’s education and to help them develop relationships with the keyperson in the settings. In my setting we offer an open-door policy for both parents and we have stay and play sessions, sports days and parents’ evening. As Wheeler, Conner and Goodwin (2009) discuss that children’s learning, social and emotional development has a positive outcome when fathers become involved and show an interest.

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 Communicating effectively with parents as a practitioner is important but one of the barriers, we face is parents with EAL (English as additional language) find it difficult to communicate. As reported by Siraj-Blatchford, Clarke and Needham (2007) when it comes to their children parents can be hesitant to voice their opinions. Those who put stereotypes behind them focus on the positives allowing for a better environment and encourage good relationships (Ward 2009). Riddall-Leech (2003) agreed that communication is important in building a successful and effective partnership with parents although she did say that communication is a two-way process and there must be a ‘giver’ and a ‘receiver’.

Amongst the verbal, text messing, emails and social media communication my setting uses an online system called I-Connect which allows the parent to track their child’s development, we upload pictures which link to the specific areas within the EYFS. This allows parents to also add pictures and comment. Alluring parents is vital for a child’s achievement according to Harris &Goodall (2007). Whalley (2008) suggest we must be adaptable for the changing needs for each individual family and remember what works for one doesn’t work another.

This essay has identified the importance of the keyperson and working in partnership with parents. It has discussed some of the barriers that can occur in settings between parents and practitioners. Furthermore, it has discussed the importance of involving parents in their children’s learning. It has also examined the role of the father and the impact they have on a child’s learning and development and lastly it has explained that all types of communication is important in an ever-changing environment.


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  • DfE. (2017). Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (EYFS). Setting the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/596629/EYFS_STATUTORY_FRAMEWORK_2017.pdf
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  • Ward, U. (2009). Working with parents in early years settings. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/ebookviewer/ebook/bmxlYmtfXzQxMTc4Ml9fQU41?sid=4f58690b-38fa-4a1a-ad0c-0639bfe16365@sessionmgr120&vid=0&format=EB&rid=1
  • Ward, U. (2013). Working with parents in the early years. London: Sage.    
  • Whalley M. (2008). Involving parents in their children’s learning,2nd, London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
  • Wheeler, H. Connor, J. (2009). Parents, Early years and learning: Parents as Partners in the Early Years Foundation Stage – Principles into Practice. London: National Children’s Bureau


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