To ensure a quality relationship between the center and families, teachers and staff must invest time into developing a partnership that puts the well-being of children first. Parents entrust their child to the center, and it is our job to ensure that their trust is warranted. They expect a safe environment, innovative educational programming, welcoming surroundings, competent teachers, and a staff that communicates effectively. The center expects that parents make staff aware of any difficulties or transitions their child is experiencing at home, what we can do to aid in their child’s development, any positive or negative feedback about center practices, and any general thoughts on their center experience. If both parents and teachers meet each other’s partnership expectations, the relationship will remain strong and the children will benefit!
There are many keys to successful partnerships with parents. This post focuses on explaining a few actions teachers and staff can take to ensure they are meeting parent expectations.
Capitalize on time parents are in the center: Parents are inside the center for on average roughly 5-7 minutes per day. They drop their child(ren) off in the morning, and pick them up in the afternoon. They don’t see what great activities their child participates in during the day. It is the teacher’s job to ensure that parents are being given an accurate and thorough description of what their child’s day entailed, what they struggled with (if anything), what they did well at, and any other interesting details. The more details you provide to parents, the stronger the relationship will be, and the more trust they will place in the center.
Provide ample information: I’ve heard teachers and directors say that they worry about giving parents too much information. Their fear is that they will overwhelm them. Parents want to hear about their child’s day. The number one thing in a parent’s life is their child. Provide parents with detailed descriptions about what activities were done that day, what their child’s mood was, anything cute or funny they did, and information pertaining to the child’s development. Utilize your center provided Ipad to take pictures, parents love to see them!
Provide additional resources for families: Recent surveys of the five centers conveyed to management that families are looking for additional resources that can aid in their child’s development at home. Developmental screenings are done regularly, but be innovative about how development can be fostered at home too!
Be honest: The quickest way to harm a relationship with a parent is to be dishonest. There is no reason to do so, and it will result in lack of trust a parent has in the center and staff. The dishonest actions of one teacher often result in parents being skeptical of the entire staff. It’s not fair, but it’s the way it is. If a child get’s hurt, or is acting poorly, be honest about it! Parents would rather be told the hard-to-hear truth than be lied too.
Keep your room clean: Parents want to know that the room their child receives care in is clean, that toys are sanitized often, and bathrooms are disinfected regularly. Daycares are hotbeds for communicable illnesses (flu’s, pink eye, hand, foot, mouth), but the center can take necessary precautions needed to ward of bacteria. In addition, a clean room is appealing to the eye. Get rid of clutter, clean daily, and make sure to vacuum at least once a day. Parents will make judgements of the center based on it’s cleanliness. A center’s level of cleanliness conveys how much the staff personally cares for it.
Be appreciative of parent feedback: Parents will come to teachers with their concerns about their child’s education. It is their job as parents. These concerns can sometimes be negative in nature. Do your best to always remain calm, and remember that child care is a service industry, and we want to ensure our clients are satisfied with the service provided. We cannot address every concern parents have, but we should always be open to feedback.