Pen Green's 'Parents Involvement in their Children's Learning' (PICL) programme is an evidence based way of working with parents that is being offered as part of a package to local authorities and other funders for the professional development of practitioners working with families receiving the two-year-old entitlement.
Running over three days, PICL aims to equip practitioners to challenge themselves about how they develop partnerships with parents and share knowledge about children's learning both in a setting or group and at home.
Initially participants attend two consecutive days to discuss their beliefs and values about working with parents and plan how they will generate this discussion within their staff team. They are also introduced to the technique of sharing video observations and four child development frameworks for analysing children's learning with parents.
Over a three-month period participants complete project work with their staff team, conduct an audit of current practice in relation to working with parents per setting and complete a child study with one family. They then return for a third day when they deepen their understanding of the child development concepts through sharing video observations and learning through project work.
Carol Salt, former strategic lead for children's centres in Stoke-on-Trent and now an independent training consultant, testifies to the effectiveness of the programme.
'Three years ago we identified a need for a strong parent-partnership programme to address the fact that one in three children was living in poverty and that school attainment was well below the national average. Since then over 100 children's centre practitioners have been trained and have imbedded PICL in their practice.
'It's been transformational. Practitioners understand every next step that a child needs to take. They also have relationships with parents based on equality. Parents understand how their children develop. It has created a sense of energy, with many parents going on to access training and develop careers themselves.'