Educators, parents and families are a vital part of a child’s support system and essential to success. When educators and parents establish and maintain open communication, it has been proven to enrich a child’s learning, wellbeing and better position them for long-term success in the child care setting and beyond.
Why are parent-teacher relationships important?
The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) explicitly acknowledges the value of partnerships as part of the five principles underpinning early childhood practice and pedagogy. The EYLF identifies the importance of both parents and educators’ knowledge and the unique contribution they have in children’s lives.
acknowledge families as a child’s first teacher
An educators’ primary focus is on building attachments with children. Through extending this focus and strengthening partnerships with parents, reciprocal respect and trust is built that acknowledge families as a child’s first teacher, and the child is able to benefit from greater education, care and learning outcomes as a result.
Continuous personalised alignment of a child’s learning program
With open two-way communication established, the sharing of insight and perspectives about each child in relation to their care needs, interests and development can be facilitated ensuring children are programmed for appropriately. A great by-product being that educators are extending upon their existing strengths, skills and knowledge.
Tips/techniques for parent-teachers
Building communication channels for different purposes and to suit different family structures and requirements is becoming increasingly important, particularly as technology has become an accessible part of our day-to-day lives.
Here are some of our tips to opening communication in a range of different ways, allowing both parents and educators to share insight and perspectives about each child.
Create welcoming and inviting spaces
Early childhood centres should create welcoming and inviting spaces for families. Parents and educators can then feel comfortable having lasting conversations in an open, supportive and friendly environment.
Connect families to your centre’s practice
Consider how families are represented across the service. Partnerships should be enacted within the centre’s philosophy, policies, procedures, programming, documentation and environment.
Personalise how you engage and connect
Families will have their own preference as to how they are contacted. Find out what works best for themーprint, email newsletters, face-to-face, social mediaーand personalise your approach to communication.
Evolve as you build understanding
Informal daily conversations and planned family gatherings provide opportunities to gain an understanding of the family structure, cultural background, diverse needs, as well as the interests and strengths of families. Consider and look for ways to reflect their uniqueness and needs within the centre environment.
Leverage technology for complex EYLF demonstrations
Communication surrounding pedagogical practices, the EYLF and educational outcomes needs to be clearly articulated via all the various touchpoints a parent has with a centre. Show, tell, demonstrate and document the complex, skilled and enjoyable work engaged in daily with a child.