Part two on easy tips for early childhood educators to communicate with parents

Methods such as written communication between an early childhood provider and parents is an important part of a high-quality early childhood program.

It is best to have lots of different ways to communicate with parents.  Meeting in person is great, but you also want to be able to check-in with the parent that doesn’t have time to stop and chat. By making sure that you have many different ways to communicate with parents, you will be sure that they know what is going on with their child and make it easier to talk when you do meet face-to-face.

Communication between an early childhood care provider and parents is an important part of a high-quality early childhood program. In the Early Childhood Standards of Quality for Infant and Toddler Programs from the Michigan Department of Education one of the program standards is that “the program maintains ongoing partnerships with families to support families’ continued engagement with and participation in their children’s development and care.”

Here are some easy tips that you can use to help communicate with your parents:

  • Daily progress reports. The primary purpose is to let parents know how their child is doing each day or week. Reports can be formal or informal and can be done at pick-up or drop-off the next day. Remember to report the positive things just as much as the negative.
  • Bulletin boards. These can provide a quick look at the upcoming week or month. You can post schedules, policies or anything else that parents need to review. You can focus your board on the things that children are learning about that week or you can provide parent resources and information on topics they may have questions about. You may want to have several bulletin boards around different topics.
  • Newsletters. Once a month or quarterly, newsletters can include updates on policy or procedure changes, ideas for ways parents can extend learning at home or upcoming volunteer opportunities for parents.
  • Email updates. These can be used to communicate more time sensitive issues to parents such as sign-up for field trips, changes in schedules or to let them know how their child is doing during the day.
  • Parent-provider meetings. These can be done regularly or for special incidents. This is a time for you and the parent to discuss the child. Invite the parent to provide input also.
  • Talking. Greet the parent at pick-up and drop-off. Small talk goes a long way in helping build positive provider/parent relationships.

The more that you can communicate with your parents the better relationship you will build. Parents are an integral part in quality child care and by making sure that you are communicating openly you can help them to feel more comfortable to take an active role in their child’s education from the very beginning!

For more resources on communication with parents, please visit the eXtension Alliance for Better Child Care at http://www.extension.org/child_care.

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