Parents that find themselves isolated from the educational journey that their child is embarking on don’t do so on purpose. Rather, it’s a common trap that both providers and parents fall into. Engaging parents throughout their child’s developmental years is often an issue of resources and awareness.
Parent engagement in schools requires a substantial commitment of time and resources on the provider’s side. On the parent’s side, it requires significant time and genuine interest in being involved. However, busy schedules and existing commitments can certainly make it difficult.
There are going to be challenges along the way, but the importance of parent engagement can’t be understated. We dive into why it’s a problem that needs solving, and how you can make your child care center more successful by focusing on engaging parents.
Solving the Parent – Teacher Communication Conundrum
Developing a rapport with the parents of your students leads to healthy and open lines of communication, but what happens when this isn’t successful? More importantly, why isn’t it successful?
Part of the reason is the failure of our society to acknowledge early childhood development as a 24-hour experience. Cohesion between child care providers and parents can build a foundation for learning that extends beyond the classroom.
Considering that 60% of children under the age of six have two parents in the workforce, we understand that time is tough to come by. However, parents who don’t take an active role in their child’s daily learning routine can actually harm their long-term development.
On the flip side, providers who don’t actively engage parents are consistently limiting their potential as a caregiver or teacher, and they are restraining the potential of their center.
Bringing parents into the fold, whether it’s through in-class visits, email or phone correspondence, leveraging mobile applications, or otherwise, can only have a positive impact on your developmental efforts. Inviting them to share their thoughts on the daily happenings at your center will present you with a broader variety of potential ideas and solutions.
How to Bolster Child Care Success with Parent Engagement
Effectively and purposefully engaging parents is a challenge that demands solving. Below, we dive into a few tips to help you improve the child care experience for all involved.
Improve Visibility into Your Child Care Center
Consider the common leading questions that a parent will ask when they pick up their child from your center - What activities did you do at daycare today? What did you learn today?
Now, consider the common questions that parents will have for you when you connect – What are you focusing on this year? What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses?
Preferably, the answers to these questions aren’t difficult to provide. If you are committing yourself to enhancing parent engagement and leveraging the mobile applications that millennial parents desire, these questions won’t need to be asked.
When parents understand your day-to-day curriculum and everybody is on the same page, working towards a common goal, there will be no grey area.
Promote the Continuation of Learning at Home
One of the linchpins of parent engagement is supporting further learning at home and doing your part as the child care provider to make it a smooth transition.
There are no hidden agendas in child care. Providing valuable experiences on a daily basis and creating learning opportunities whenever possible is what it’s all about. Because of this, creating a connection between home and school is invaluable.
Engaging parents and sharing your goals and aspirations as a provider, along with the necessary materials, can help them pick up where you left off at home.
Providing daily activity reports and establishing a comfortable level of communication will help them understand what goes on at your center, and they can continue to build on that developmental foundation even when you are off the clock.
Build a More Inclusive Curriculum
Managing the boundary between letting parents be too involved in your curriculum and providing them a chance to share their thoughts can be difficult. We understand that.
However, issues will only arise when there isn’t a pre-existing trust between the two parties. Collaboration that leads to a more inclusive curriculum is all about providing as much value as possible. By promoting parent involvement, the learning experience becomes stronger.
Even though you are the professional in the child care industry, respecting the parent’s role in their child’s life and understanding where you fit into the puzzle will lead to a more valuable experience for all involved.
Engaged parents translate to engaged children. When parents are engaged in their child’s development, better grades, healthier behaviors, and strong social skills are more likely to surface. We hope this explanation of parent engagement and its importance helps you move forward and improve as a child care provider.
Looking for tools to improve parent engagement at your child care center? Learn how Procare can help!