The Duchy staff are very aware that the parents of a child are the first educators and the people who know the child best. All the staff are parents themselves and we feel this helps us to understand different perspectives when a family first comes to the playgroup. We strive to build respectful, understanding and inclusive relationships with parents and other family members from the very first visit. Each child is given a booklet to complete before they start with the playgroup and this allows a key worker specialist knowledge of likes and dislikes, special words and people in the child’s life. We have a very relaxed Settling In policy – staff will talk to parents about exactly how they would like to leave their child when the time is right.
We also have a small contact book entitled “All about me” which is a way for home and setting keeping in contact about activities and interests pursued at home. For example one parent wrote about a trip to the museum where her daughter was fascinated with the long names of dinosaurs. We were then able to plan in some dinosaur activities to engage the girl.
We produce a half-termly newsletter which is packed with vital information: Topics for the term, training opportunities, fundraising events coming up, job opportunities, information about funding and term dates to name but a few!
We will often try to give a summary of the day’s activities on our white board at the end of each day. We have found it helps parents to prompt their child to talk about what has gone on during the day.
Research shows that children learn better when their parents are involved in their learning. Through our Parent Help Rota system we welcome parents into the sessions on a regular basis. The children are able to come into contact with different adults with different skills and backgrounds and this enhances their learning experience.
We also welcome both students and volunteers in to the setting. If these visits become regular (we currently have two permanent volunteers) then individuals are asked to apply for an Enhanced Disclosure.