Staying involved with your child’s education is crucial to supporting their development. This is particularly true for young children, as this interaction is an important step in establishing a connection between school and the home.
Here are just a few examples of the many benefits of participating in your child’s early educational experience:
- By staying involved with your child’s childcare centre, you will be more intimately familiar with the activities that they participate in during the day. This will allow you to incorporate some aspects of this activities into your time with your child at home.
- Visiting your childcare centre shows you child that their education is important to you, and also signals to their teachers that you are engaged in your child’s development.
- You can establish connections with parents of other children, some of which may turn out to be lifelong friends and support systems.
- Regular involvement with the staff at your childcare centre increases the quality of communications between and relationships with those educators.
In addition, research demonstrates that parent involvement in early childhood care results in a myriad of benefits for their children.
- Higher grades and test scores
- Greater sense of self-esteem and aspirations
- Improved attitude towards school in general
- Higher achievement levels
At Harmony, we believe that collaboration with each child and their family is crucial to your child’s success, and this is just one small part of The Harmony Difference.
Want to get involved, but not sure where to start? Here are 4 opportunities to get involved with your childcare centre.
1. Read the Parent Handbook
Every childcare centre should have a handbook available for parents that provides valuable information about the centre as well as insight into its core values. The handbook should provide information about the following:
- The centre’s teaching philosophy and daytime schedule structure
- Credentials, experience, and/or background of the centre’s staff
- Services offered to parents and children
- Health and safety policies, including emergency procedures and staff credentials
- Rules and policies that children (and parents) must adhere to.
Make sure that you read the handbook cover to cover, and discuss any questions or concerns that you might have with your child’s educators. It is important for both you and your child to be wholly comfortable with your childcare centre, and discussing the policies and philosophies included with the handbook is an excellent way to open up a dialogue with the centre’s staff.
2. Engage with Childcare Staff with the Storypark App
Storypark is a cloud-based mobile app that is designed to provide opportunities for parents, children, and educators to communicate throughout the day. This application is user-friendly and straightforward to , and is so effective that it is used by education centres in over 80 countries worldwide.
At Harmony, we use Storypark to enable parents and educators to write messages and share pictures and videos in real time. This way our teachers can share your child’s accomplishments throughout the day, and you get to witness all of the little moments that make your little one so special.
One of the best features about Storypark is that anyone with access to your child’s page can share content and insights. For example, you can also use Storypark to share a video of your child reading a book with their teachers. You can also grant access to your child’s speech therapist so that they can share observations and practice tips with both you and your child’s teachers, or even other family members or a regular babysitter.
Best of all? Storypark is completely free for parents to use!
3. Take Advantage of Opportunities to Be Involved
Many childcare centres offer opportunities for parents to be involved. However whether you choose to take advantage of those opportunities is entirely up to you.
Educators know that parents who are informed of the day-to-day activities of their children are better prepared to extend the learning experience to life at home. They also know that engaging parents can be difficult, particularly in families with two working parents or several children with busy schedules. When they extend opportunities to be involved in activities at the childcare centre, they are asking you to engage!
Here are just a few examples of how your childcare centre might reach out to parents:
- Hosting open houses to allow parents to interact with the staff, explore the facility, and learn more about the day-to-day workings of the childcare centre
- Providing daily communications – utilising either Storypark or printed summaries – of your child’s activities so that you can see what they have learned and accomplished throughout each day
- Asking parents for input regarding activities, holiday themes, or potential topics for the children to explore
- Recommending activities that you and your family can do at home to support your child’s growth and development
Involving yourself with the centre’s staff and activities yields tangible benefits. The more involved you are in opportunities like these, the more you will connect with your child’s development on a personal level.
Some parents may feel that they do not get any additional insight or value from daily communications or involvement opportunities. However, the only way to recognise this is to be involved in the first place!
Communicating regularly with the childcare staff will also establish an open line of communication that can enable you to make recommendations or suggestions if you feel that involvement opportunities can be improved. Working together with your child’s caretakers ensures that you are ALL getting the most out of your relationship.
4. Participate in Educational Activities
Many childcare centres invite parents to interact with the class or to participate in classroom activities. For example, perhaps your child’s preschool teacher is hosting a “professions” month so that the children can learn about different careers available to them when they grow up. Or perhaps you have an unusual talent that your child could share with the class during “show and tell.” Even volunteering to read a story or lead a craft project is a simple way to interact with your child during their time at school or daycare.
When you actively participate in your child’s classroom activities, you are showing them that you care about their learning and that you are excited to be involved. Taking the time out of your day to be present speaks volumes – because, after all, actions speak louder than words.
Maintaining an active role as a participant in your child’s early development and education yields many benefits for your child. In addition to setting them up for success throughout the rest of their education – and, in fact, the rest of their life – you are also demonstrating a commitment to connecting with and participating in their educational journey.
Your child will appreciate this commitment and respond to it with gusto, improving their overall performance and engagement in their childcare activities, and you will establish better relationships and stronger communication with the staff at your childcare centre.
This is a special time in your child’s life. Don’t’ miss out on the opportunity to be a part of it!