Case study: The Foundation Years Trust

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Building strong relationships between parents and nursery staff in the Early Years.

At first standing in front of parents was hard… but I have now developed bonds with them.

Nursery teacher

The big idea

Helping nursery practitioners to engage parents and giving parents the tools to support their child’s communication and language development at home.

Why it’s needed

Activities such as reading, singing, talking and playing with children in the Early Years are essential for the development of communication and language skills. In addition, parents play the most important role in helping their child learn and develop at home.

Nursery staff also play an essential role in building children’s early communication and language skills. Studies have shown that if parents and nursery teachers work together during a child’s Early Years of education, greater things can be achieved in the development of communication and language.

However, a lack of time and resources can stand in the way of parents engaging with the school setting and nursery practitioners forging stronger relationships with parents1.

Hand on heart, I believe that attending the Little Explorers sessions has made me the parent I am today.

Parent

How it works

The Trust is delivering ‘Partnership with Parents’ training in 20 primary schools across the Wirral. This gives nursery staff the opportunity to reflect on their strategies to engage parents, learn new ways to work with them, and build confidence in forging stronger relationships.

After a few hours of training, staff are able to apply their new skills in Little Explorers groups in the nursery setting for parents and children. The sessions give parents and children the chance to learn, play and sing songs together to strengthen communication and language and relationships. Every parent is given free resources at the session to help them continue to support their child at home.

The impact

Through the Partnership with Parents training and Little Explorers groups, the Trust is building a network of nursery teachers across the Wirral expert in engaging parents. They are also successfully establishing a community of ‘Parent Champions’ inspiring many other parents across the Wirral.

  • Nursery teachers have said that many more children are reading books with parents at home.
  • Nurseries have said many more parents feel confident enough to help support their child’s learning at home.
  • In future, the Trust would like to work with partners in Liverpool and help the city become a beacon of good practice in the Early Years.

References

  1. National Literacy Trust, National Children’s Bureau, Peeple, Foundation Years Trust, Home Matters: making the most of the home learning environment, 2018