Nursery World Awards 2011: Initiatives - Working with parents award

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

WINNER: Blue Grass Purple Cow Nursery, Stockport, Cheshire - Open Doors, Open Hearts and Open Minds initiative

Building and maintaining close relationships with parents is key to the success of Blue Grass Purple Cow Nursery.

The setting's Open Doors, Open Hearts and Open Minds initiative focuses on meeting the needs of parents and involving them in all aspects of their child's care.

This starts as soon as they step through the door, with a flexible induction and settling-in process designed to give parents a wealth of information and make their child's transition as smooth as possible.

Parents also benefit from the nursery's opendoor policy, which allows them to join in with activities or come in for lunch as and when they like. Suggestions for ways that parents can get involved are displayed in the setting, along with details of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and related topics and activities they can take part in.

The nursery also encourages parents to come in and share their talents with the nursery on days their children don't normally attend. In the past year, one father has come in to play the bagpipes and another to coach football for the children. A mother who is an architect brought in her building plans and explained them. Children and staff alike have learned a lot from these show-and-tell sessions.

Enhancing the relationship between nursery and home is equally as important to staff at the setting. For a topic on invention, the nursery sent home Explorer Packs with challenges for children to do with their parents, including finding out how popcorn pops and counting the number of windows in their home.

Themed take-home play-packs have also been created and include books, puppets, games and activities. The packs are so popular that staff say they are constantly having to add to the collection.

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Sparklers Private Nursery, Gretna, Scotland

Sparklers Private Nursery provides a 'one stop' service to families in the local community. Based in a deprived area and with very little funding, the staff work tirelessly to build close relationships with children and their families. To help support parents during the first years of a child's life, the nursery works in close partnership with their local Sure Start team and a health visitor, who holds monthly drop-in sessions. It also welcomes feedback from parents about ways in which it can better meet their needs. When parents asked for confidence-building classes and pampering sessions, staff willingly obliged. As a result of the nursery's commitment to helping them, the number of parent helpers has risen from two per year to more than ten.

FINALISTS

Boogie Mites, provides music workshops for children and parents

In the Picture, 'Look Who's Talking', parentled film and resource development programme

Manor Park Children's Centre, Sutton, Men Behaving Dadly

Oxfordshire County Council, Well-being and Involvement Outdoors with Families

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

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