In early childhood education, parents are part of the package. Every day, they are involved in your facility and are the main reason our industry exists.
Managing the relationship between parents and centres takes communication, patience and understanding. Collaborative partnerships with parents in child care are essential to early childhood education.
Many child care and kinder facilities take this relationship further with parents volunteering their time for committees, working bees and fundraising. It’s a great way for parents to feel part of your centre and instills a sense of pride for the whole family.
Here are some tips on how to effectively manage collaborative partnerships with parents in child care or encourage parent involvement.
Schedule two to four working bees a year and inform your parent community well in advance. You could book in a clean up before an Open Day or other events to ensure your centre looks its best.
Put up a “to do” list in the staff room with basic repairs and jobs and encourage staff members to add their ideas. Parents can check out the list ahead of time to pick out their jobs and bring along the right tools.
Provide a morning or afternoon tea to create a friendly community atmosphere and social opportunity.
Don’t forget to thank those that joined in. Some facilities offer a small fee discount for attending working bees but a verbal thank you and smile is always appreciated.
A fundraising raffle is an effective way to engage local businesses and the community while raising valuable funds for your centre. Local businesses are often keen to support community endeavours and many will happily give vouchers or products in return for promotion.
Begin with a goal, from new playground equipment to a new roof. Be clear how much you aim to raise and what it will be spent on.
Create a team of parent volunteers to help and ask for their ideas – people that feel involved and considered will work harder.
Make a list of local businesses to approach and allocate names of parents that will ask at each place. Put up the list near the sign up book and ask if parents can help.
Publish a running tally of all the donations in the newsletter. It provides promotion for businesses that have donated and encourages others to join.
Remember to keep your raffle legal. Registered not-for-profit children’s services do not need a permit for raffles less than $5,000 in prize value but check current requirements at the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Registration website.
Parent committees provide a range of skills that can support your facility. If you’d like to encourage parents to join, make it a fun and social event. Take it in turns to bring a plate, host it at a local café or, if the weather is nice, head outdoors toward the nearest park.
If it’s so much fun parents can’t stop talking about it, you’ll have no shortage of parent volunteers next time!
Once established, collaborative partnerships with parents in child care are a valuable asset for any centre.