The Importance of Strong Partnerships with Parents

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The importance of strong partnerships with parents. The charity was founded by parents as a self help organisation to provide early years education for their children in the absence of state provision and to lobby for universal nursery education. The aim of the charity remains the same – to enhance the development and education of young children by enabling their parents to provide for their own children’s needs through community-based groups – though the ways that we do that in the twenty first century may be different from those we used in earlier days. Believing as we do, that parents are the first and most influential educators of their children, we need to take serious action to support this role. The partnership with parents has got to be more than termly formal reports, home/setting books and questionnaires, good as these things are. There must be on-going daily dialogue to build the trust and confidence that will allow a true partnership with parents to grow. This takes time and stability to develop fully. It also requires an investment in a generous ratio of staff to families so that sufficient attention can be paid to each individual child and adult. We know, and the research work of Professor Desforges and Professor Kathy da Silva among others provides evidence, that the involvement of parents in their children’s education is good for children, is good for parents, is good for society so an investment in a partnership with parents is well worth making. In difficult times we may have insufficient resources to invest in parental choice as for parents to have a real choice there would have to be more places on offer than there were children to fill them. Indeed, offering choice has always been a big challenge in some places, for example in rural areas. Our surveys of parents in recent years suggest that while parents might welcome choice, what they want above all is an easily accessible and affordable place of good quality which for most parents means a...
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