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Parents matter

Working with parents imageMums and dads are the first and most important influence on their child’s development and future outcomes. What interactions take place in the home environment has more influence on a child’s future achievement than innate ability, material circumstances or the quality of early years or school provision.

The role that mums and dads play in supporting their child’s development is key to making a difference in their children’s outcomes. They entrust their their child to us to support them. We in turn need to ensure that we actively engage with mums and dads.

Effective communication

To support practitioners in developing parental engagement in children’s early learning, PEAL training materials and resources have been produced to support you to engage parents in their children’s learning. These materials cover topics such as relationships, communication and partnership.

You have an important role to play in ensuring that parents are ready for the next stages in their child’s development.

  • In your local area, lead a parenting campaign to raise awareness of the importance of the relationship that mums and dads have with their children on future outcomes.
  • ‘Parent Readiness’ will mean that mums and dads will know, from those to whom that they trust their child’s development, that they will be guided as to what to do to support their child.

Talk to Your Baby provides lots of interesting and useful ideas for you to share with parents to help them interact with their young children.

Working with dads

Baby. father, worker imageA fathers’ involvement in his child’s life is crucial – from attending ante-natal classes through to engaging in their development and education.

Evidence shows that positive involvement of fathers can lead to enhanced educational attainment, improved behaviour, better well-being and better child relationships. So you can see, their involvement is incredibly important.

The Fatherhood Institute has developed some useful information and toolkits on how to engage dads. This includes Ten top tips for father inclusive practice.

Further materials are being designed through the strategic partnership to support working with dads. The Foundation Years newsletter will alert you to their availability on this website.

Active engagement

All services need to listen to what parents need and make provision for these needs.

Sure Start Children’s Centres are required through the core purpose to ensure that mums and dads and families have a real say in shaping local services.

You need to be especially active in engaging with mums and dads who are most vulnerable. This will require creative and innovative thinking. Action for Children have released an informative report Effective Relationships with Vulnerable Parents to support you in engaging vulnerable parents to improve outcomes for children.

The Family and Childcare Trust is working actively to promote Parent Champions.

For parents to understand the expectations of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework, a parents guide to the EYFS is available here.

Share your experiences

If you have examples of effective practice which has engaged the most vulnerable parents, send it to the Foundation Years team at 4Children in order for it to be shared across the sector.

Reflective questions:

How do you as a professional in a children’s centre ensure parents are actively involved in the decision making?

How do you actively engage dads?

Do messages you give to parents from a health and education viewpoint match?

How do you help your mums and dads to make them ‘parent ready’ for each stage of the child’s development?

How do you as a practitioner delivering the EYFS ensure that parents are fully aware of the expectations in it?

Find out more… (click to open)

  • PEEP – trained practitioners work with parents and carers to support their babies’ and children’s development and improve their life chances, by making the most of everyday learning opportunities.
  • Family and Parenting Institute, Early Home Learning Matters – EHLM brings together the evidence about the vital role played by parents in securing good outcomes for children, and provides practical information about how to plan and implement effective services to involve