Engaging with families in early education
Whether you’re running a nursery, infants or primary school, first impressions are important. Never is this more true than with a parents’ perception of school during the first few weeks of term. Building strong, long-lasting relationships with parents begins early. So, during these first trepid weeks of term, don’t forget the most important influence in a child’s educational journey; the parents!
Parental engagement is proven to play a vital role in supporting young children in early education. The relationship between the two environments – home and the classroom – is very important.
There are a few ways to engage with parents to ensure your relationship gets off to a great start this year. Here are a few of our tried-and-tested recommendations.
They can never start homework too early – and we’re talking about parents! Now is the time to communicate with parents about the importance of their involvement in their child’s education at home. Encouraging mums and dads with practical instructions and advice is a great way of starting them off on the road to success.
Providing hands-on resources to support learning is a great way of supporting learning at home; reading diaries, PDFs, toys and activities… Sharing guidance and information about a child’s personal progression offers parents practical insight into their child’s education, ensuring they’re well placed to continue teacher’s efforts at home.
An informal meet-and-greet provides a great opportunity to meet parents in a casual setting. It’s also likely to be the first time that families get to mix and meet with each other, so the pressure isn’t entirely on teachers to play host. Parents will appreciate the opportunity to meet staff, chat with fellow parents and see their child’s classroom environment for the first time.
For nervous or hard-to-reach parents, a relaxed meet-up can be particularly beneficial. An event like this, when arranged early in the first term, helps to build an approachable and communicative setting in which they feel comfortable and welcomed.
Before dozens of eager parents flood the school gates on their first parents’ evening, make sure they have all the information they need to keep the event running to plan. For some, this may be their first time meeting teachers and visiting the school, making it all the more important that they feel welcomed by your professional and organised team.
Share plenty of information in advance with parents’ evening first-timers; where to go upon arrival, instructions for signing in as well as any information to keep the evening running on time and to schedule (i.e how early to arrive and where to wait for appointments).
Realistically, paper newsletters, invitations and forms are unlikely to receive a speedy response from busy parents – pupil post has proven unreliable for years! We expect a certain level of convenience and security when it comes to sharing information today and school communications are no different. For busy, millennial parents, paper communications are unlikely to impress, resulting in lost letters and misplaced meeting slips.
With a single user-friendly platform, busy school teams can send out the school newsletter whilst planning the next school trip. As your reliance on print and paper falls, so do the corresponding costs. Thousands of schools have taken back hours in both planning and distributing home/school communications and managing multiple suppliers, for various administrative functions – such as cashless payments and dinner money.
With ParentMail, you really can do it all with one system, and so can parents. Our free mobile app is designed to support parents so schools receive a great response. For parents new to busy school-life, a handy, user-friendly app is an ideal tool for engaging with and sharing important information straight to parents’ hands!
Get in touch today to find out how ParentMail can help your school achieve top marks in home/school communications this year.