Nursery World Awards 2020 - Working with Parents

Friday, February 5, 2021

FAB (Families Are Best) – Harrington Nursery School, Derby

Harrington is a nursery school small in size but big in heart, which focuses on what is right for children and their families.

The setting, located in inner-city Derby, is in the top 10 per cent most deprived wards in the city, and has built its vision and values around an acknowledgement of the needs and strengths of its families.

All staff are passionate about developing close relationships and are committed to the belief that Families Are Best (FAB).

The FAB approach includes a welcoming environment where all families feel secure and confident to engage in the life of the school. These positive relationships are nurtured by all members of staff and the voice of the parent and child is always acknowledged.

All families are encouraged to participate in regular activities over the school year which focus on improving understanding of how to support children’s development in school and in a home-learning environment.

Activities include home visits, family challenges linked to the Prime Areas of Learning, an all-day drop-in half-termly book café, themed monthly Harrington Hummingbirds singing sessions, a Walk and Talk board located by the nursery exit suggesting subjects and themes to talk about on the journey home and during meal times, visits into the local and wider community, and a variety of ‘fayres’ and celebrations.

The school ensures its indoor and outdoor environments promote well-being, in line with the Reggio principle that if you surround adults and children with beauty, then beauty will come from within.

With several children and families who struggle to engage with formal education, the school enables children who begin at relatively very low starting points to make good and outstanding progress, and for many to achieve the expected levels for their age.

FAB emphasises the importance of regular attendance and, as a result, has seen attendance figures improve from 87 per cent in 2017 to 91 per cent in 2019.

A bespoke eight-week school readiness programme helps targeted children and families identified as needing additional support, while a Level 1 course in Supporting your Child’s Speech and Language was offered to and completed by a group of parents, enabling them to more confidently address their children’s language development at home.

Furthermore, in response to the need for home learning during the pandemic, the nursery developed a programme to access online on the Class Dojo app as well as on the school website, allowing families to keep in touch and support children through a challenging time.


Tots Talking – I CAN Children’s Communication Charity

Tots Talking was the result of a project that enlisted the help of ‘hard to reach’ parents to design an intervention they would choose to engage with.

The series of hourly sessions running over eight weeks were open to parents without their children, and used a ‘facilitate’ approach to enable parents to change their communication behaviours with their children through fun, hands-on activities.

Early years practitioners who the parents knew and trusted delivered the sessions.

Sessions were accompanied by an app to reinforce learning and provide information and reminders to carry out activities at home.

As a result, children whose parents took part in Tots Talking sessions were more engaged and took part more actively in nursery activities, while more than 80 per cent of parents said they spent more time playing, listening and talking with their children.


Hand in Hand Parent/Carer Network – SEND to Learn

Talking Together – BHT Early Education and Training, funded by Better Start Bradford


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