Nursery World Awards 16: Initiatives - Working with Parents

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Polbeth Nursery, West Lothian

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Judges concurred that Polbeth Nursery demonstrated excellent, evidence-based practice when it came to parent partnerships. These trusting and supportive relationships clearly have a positive impact on the well-being and learning of children, and promote the health of parents and carers in a variety of ways.

One way is through providing Parents Early Education Partnerships (PEEPs). These give parents or carers the opportunity to spend time with their children in the nursery. Sessions include making dough, painting, singing and writing books together.

Polbeth has also become a breast-feeding-friendly nursery. This accreditation means staff are trained to promote an environment where breastfeeding is seen as the normal way to feed infants and young children. They can provide breastfeeding parents with information and resources about breastfeeding.

Nursery staff also promote home learning of mathematics and language by providing links to parents. And parents also encourage learning by volunteering their time to ensure library books and story sacks go home and are changed regularly.

The Polbeth staff team works hard to ensure it caters for children needing additional support with their learning and development. It regularly links with other agencies, such as for speech therapy. It also ensures that transitions into the setting and beyond are well organised and involve parents at each stage.

Parents like the range of ways they find out about how children learn; for example, stay-and-play sessions, the nursery blog, newsletters, the Facebook page and information boards. In a recent survey of parents, one commented, ‘I’m always told what they have been up to, they know their personalities.’ Another said, ‘They all clearly really care.’

‘Excellent parent partnerships that have a real impact on children’s learning and well-being’ - Judge

Highly commended

Mama Bear’s Day Nursery, Paignton

Mama Bear’s is an Outstanding-rated childcare setting supporting 52 children each day. A high number of vulnerable families use the service, meaning staff proactively seek opportunities to build local partnerships with the council, police, foster families and local charities. Workers attend court hearing with families, support them with housing applications and make referrals.

Nursery staff have supported families through moments of crisis, such as when three children were put into foster care. They worked with the police to help the children understand what was happening, and created transitional objects to support them moving between homes, as well as representing the children throughout all legal proceedings.

Staff also work with a local charity to provide financial aid to families; for example, providing them with Christmas hampers.

Finalists

Little Darling Childcare, Harrow

Leicester Big Cook, Little Cook

Criterion

Open to services or projects that support parents, enhance their understanding of their children’s development, or improve children’s outcomes through involvement and co-operation with families

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