Childcare Secondary

Secondary Childcare – Working with Parents and Carers

Earlier this year saw the launch of a new online directory, The Good Care Guide. It will enable parents to search for, rate and comment on the quality of care provided by all registered childcare settings in England. The creators of the guide, My Family Care, hope it will improve transparency and quality of care, by giving families a say.

This highlights once again the importance of positive relationships with parents and carers, which is a very important component of both the Level 2 Certificate and Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People’s Workforce. Specifically:

L2:Unit MU2.9 Understand Partnership Working in Services for Children and Young People 
Unit SHC 21 Introduction to Communication in Health, Social Care or Children’s and Young People’s Settings
L3:Unit CYP 3.5 Develop Positive Relationships with Children, Young People and Others Involved in their Care
Unit SHC 31 Promote Communication in Health, Social Care or Children’s and Young People’s Settings

Developing a positive relationship with parents requires a great deal of empathy, which can often be difficult for some young students with limited life experience. It is not easy to understand the challenges facing many parents today and this can lead to judgemental attitudes. Students can be encouraged to gain an appreciation of the difficulties some parents face by exploring their own views about parenting and reflecting on the complexities.
An introductory exercise I have often used is called the Attitude Poll (attached) and this can be a useful starting point to help your students discuss different ideas and viewpoints about parenting. Divide your students into small groups and give each group 3 or 4 statements to discuss. They should decide whether they agree or disagree with each statement and provide a reason why. Each group is then encouraged to share one statement with the whole class and some of the responses can be recorded.
Your students could then be encouraged to share experiences from their placement or work setting about developing partnerships with parents and carers. Specifically, about how they communicate effectively and provide information for parents and how parental involvement is encouraged in their setting. The worksheet attached could provide a useful recording format to capture the students’ ideas and create evidence towards assessment.
I have also successfully used a practical activity with students working in pairs or small groups to create a ‘Parent Notice Board’, giving them instructions to create a display, which provides:
•up-to-date information about what is happening in the setting (eg. events)
•topical information about childcare policy (eg. healthy eating)
•clarity of information for parents whose first language is not English
•opportunities for parents to comment or provide feedback/suggestions
Another enjoyable activity I have used is the ‘Parent/Practitioner Interview’ where students work in pairs, one as the ‘parent’ and one as the ‘practitioner’. The ‘parent’ interviews the ‘practitioner’, using the questions attached, and the ‘practitioner’ answers, based on his/her own experience from placement. The responses can then be shared and discussed in relation to developing partnerships with parents and carers.
At different levels, students could use the evidence generated here to support their assessment for:
L2: Unit SCH 21 (AC 3.1 and 3.2); Unit MU 2.9 (AC 3.1 3.2 and 3.3)
L3: Unit SHC 31 (AC 3.2 and 3.3); Unit CYP 3.5 (AC 2.1 and 2.2)
Janet Stearns,
Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies, former Lead Examiner for CACHE

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