As half term approaches, the majority of children who began early years education in September will have settled into their setting’s routine. Settings will also have been focussing on establishing good relationships with new parents and carers.
Settings provide families with a wealth of important information when they register their child, often in the form of a “welcome pack.” This typically includes copies of key policies and practical information (e.g. what to do if a child is off sick, how the payment system works if applicable, what to do if a child needs to be given medication etc), alongside information about the educational provision. This means that there is much food for thought for the parents of newly attending children, and naturally, in the early days, the primary concern of many is that their child’s emotional well being and physical welfare is assured while they are in your care. They want to know and feel that their child is happy and safe…
It’s also important to remember that a child newly attending a setting can be a time of big adjustment for parents. For example, a parent may also be returning to or starting a job or course, which has its own pressures. Or, emotions could be heightened if a child experiences prolonged difficulties settling in – there’s no doubt that leaving a child in distress often causes just as much anguish for a parent.
However, once a little time has passed and trust is established between the setting and parents, it’s often the case that parents feel ready to find out more about the EYFS, and about how their child is learning within your provision. This makes the half term stage an ideal time to share educational information with families.
There are several ways to achieve this. For example, you may like to supplement the initial information provided on registration with some follow-on literature, (it’s also advisable to make the initial information available again). You could share a detailed breakdown of the activities you have planned for next half term, carefully showing how they are linked to the EYFS, and inviting parents’ questions. You might invite families in for a talk on the EYFS and how your provision promotes it, or you may include information on how children learn through different play experiences within the setting’s newsletter.
A great starting point is the Parents’ Guide provided free on the Foundation Years website. It provides an overview of the EYFS, and shows how parents can support their child’s learning throughout the foundation years. There are spaces for settings to insert information relevant to their own setting, including text and logos. The guide can be made available to parents either electronically or in print. To access the guide, which has been developed in conjunction with parents, visit the Foundations Years website and scroll down to the links entitled “EYFS for parents.”
Next month, we’ll look at the new Ofsted inspection framework, which comes into force in November.