It is the belief of the Little Scholars Daycare Program, that the parents of a child are the first and foremost care provider’s for their child/children, and thus should be involved in what happens at their daycare. We have an “Open Door” Policy which includes:
- Parents being able to phone at any time to inquire about their child.
- Parents being free to call the center at any time to inquire about their child.
- Availability of “orientation” visits for the parents and children.
- Involving the parent’s in contributing to our program.
- Families are allowed to visit the center at any times
9.1. COMMUNICATING WELL WITH FAMILIES:
- We will encourage our parents to read our Parent Handbook and our Policies and Procedures binder so they know about our policies.
- We will offer regular conferences with the parents so we can discuss children’s progress.
- We will keep information on our bulletin board and in our newsletter current so parents know what to expect.
- We will prepare a brief “My Day” each day for parents that describe what their child experienced.
- We will encourage parents to share information about important events in their families.
- We will ask parents about how they celebrate birthdays and holidays.
- If English is not the language that the parents speak at home, we will find out if they need interpreters or translations for meetings or notices and provide them, and we will greet them and their children in their language if possible.
9.2. WAYS FAMILIES CAN BE INVOLVED IN LITTLE SCHOLARS DAYCARE:
We will endeavour to encourage these
- Parents can be a supporter of the program by giving materials (snacks, classroom supplies) to the program. You can sell things (baked goods, t-shirts) to raise money, and ask for donations from local businesses who want to support the program. You can find new families by advertising in local newspapers, and places where families go during the day.
- Parents can volunteer. You can work at your child’s program and help teachers in the classroom or at snack time or lunch. Sometimes helping at school lets you go to teacher training workshops on issues like health and safety. Sometimes it means taking part in classroom activities like reading to your children.
- Parents can be an advocate for the program by talking to school board members and local politicians about the benefits of the program and the need for continued funding. It is your job to let the community know the importance of the early childhood program.
- Parents can be a learner. Research shows that parents, child-rearing practices and beliefs are related to the child’s performance in school. A good early childhood program can help you learn about your own children’s development and what you can do to best support their learning and social skills. They can offer your ideas about how to help your children learn at home. They can provide information about what aspects of the home, what parents do, and what their attitudes are that are most important to children’s early school success.
- Parents are the best resource for information about their child/children. Each child is special and they can help the program adapt to their child/children’s individual differences.
9.3. VOLUNTEER WITH OUR PROGRAM:
Many volunteers are eager to help in activities that involve children. There are many ways that volunteer can help support our program. The following are examples of activities we will suggest to volunteers:
- Assisting in a classroom activity on a regular basis, i.e. – reading to children
- Being a driver or chaperone for field trips
- Planning special occasions (festivals, teacher recognition events, clean up days and cultural events)
- Visiting the classroom to share specific information about special skills or family traditions
9.4. PARENTAL & VOLUNTEER INVOLVEMENT STATEMENT
According to the Canadian Child Care Federation, the following skills and abilities are necessary in order for child care practitioners to maintain open and cooperative relationships with the child’s family:
- The ability to use a variety of methods to encourage each family to share information regularly, including information about the child’s likes and dislikes and the family’s preferences regarding child rearing practices, diet and dress;
- Ability to use a variety of approaches to communicate on a regular basis with families about the child’s daily experiences, progress, and development in such a way that assists families to set goals for the child and provide feedback on the child care program.
- The ability to listen and respond to each family’s views in a manner that supports and respects the individual family and encourages families to express their needs, desires and preferences.
- The ability to use a variety of approaches to help families to express their opinions about the experiences their child is having or has had in the child care program, and the experiences they would like their child to have;
- The ability to approach a family to discuss a problem that their child has or a problem with the child in the child care setting; and the ability to effectively address differences of approach or opinion. Some of the ways to maintain open communication with parents on an ongoing basis are:
- By ensuring that a staff member is free to talk briefly with the parent when the parent drops off and/or picks up the child.
- By developing a parent handbook so parents have relevant information about the about the centre in written form. This can avoid misunderstandings regarding policies and procedures. Keep in mind that parents have various levels of literacy. It is important to provide information verbally as well as in the handbook.
- By regularly contacting all parents through telephone calls, letters or email. This is particularly important if the child is transported to the centre by someone other than the parent and there is no daily contact between the centre and the parent.
- By providing regular newsletters with general information to all families.
- By having a parent bulletin board with information such as the child care services act and regulations, the menu, daily schedule and notification about special events such as field trips or guest speakers.
- Developing a website for the centre that also provides this information would also be helpful, as long as it is regularly updated and maintained.
- By inviting parents to social events such as valentine’s snack, a Saturday family picnic or a parent potluck social.
- By holding regular meetings with parents of each child to share information and discuss the child’s development. This type of meeting can also be used by parents or staff to raise certain concerns or issues affecting a child and to discuss ways to address these concerns.
- By holding parent information evenings where topics of current interest to parents are addressed. Examples of topics might be: toy safety, nutrition for young children, guiding children’s behaviour, or children’s literature. It is important to include a social time at these events for parents to talk informally with each other. Valuable connections are often made among parents during these times.
- By leaving notes to parents in the child’s cubbie. It is very important that these notes relate to something positive, for example, something interesting that the child did that day or something positive that you want to share with the parent. If there is a concern or issue that needs to discuss with the parent, then this should be done in person or over the telephone.
- By having a log for each child that is updated daily. The parent can have a look at the log (if there is time) at the end of each day to get an idea of what significant things happened with their child that day.
- By allowing for two way communication, meaning that the parent can also have a means to initiate communication with the centre. This can come in the form of having an open door policy where parents can come by to visit their child; having a comments box where parents can leave notes regarding any suggestions, questions, or comments they have regarding their child or the operation of the centre.
- Having an open-phone policy where parents can call during the day to see how their child is doing (and leave a voice mail message if necessary); responding to email messages that a parent may send, answering their questions or providing them with information