With another lockdown looming, clear communication will be essential to support parents and early years workers.
According to the findings of a survey of more than 200 early years practitioners and teachers carried out by Tapestry, 95% of early years practitioners and reception teachers feel better communication with hard to reach parents and carers is needed to support future lockdowns and partial closures over the coming months.
As schools and settings open to more children and grapple with possible outbreaks, four fifths of respondents felt families still need better access to technology and more support to help their child with learning at home.
However, 83% of early years practitioners and reception teachers reported that they would engage with parents differently following lockdown and are more confident to approach parents and carers to discuss their child’s learning and wellbeing. While another lockdown would be detrimental, the early years sector is fully prepared to meet the challenges.
Having been on the front line from the beginning, early years practitioners understand now how best to communicate with parents while social distancing and restrictions emerge,
Rebecca Swindells, owner and co-manager of Blue Door Nursery, Seaford, said:
‘I’m not surprised that early years practitioners feel confident about talking to parents and carers. We have, as a sector, always understood the value of excellent parent partnerships. We know that children do best when they are surrounded by adults that know them and understand their needs. However, with partial closures a very real possibility in the upcoming months we need to be sure that all our communication lines are strong. If we can’t chat face to face then using technology enables us to support children when they are away from nursery as well as enabling families to show us what they are doing at home.’
Furthermore, 87% of respondents feel schools and settings will make greater use of technology to stay in touch with parents and carers where classes or bubbles need to be quarantined, or there is a local lockdown. However, almost three quarters (70%) of respondents believe staff need more training in remote learning to support children.
Dr Helen Edwards, co-founder of Tapestry and former early years practitioner said:
‘Practitioners and teachers have had to get to grips with lots of new technology in the past few months and I’m not surprised that they need more training. Supporting remote learning requires new skills and expertise, the technology is the enabler, but it’s staff that make it effective.’
Following lockdown, the survey also showed that early years practitioners and teachers were more likely to use technology to support their teaching. Their top three uses were:
- Communication with parents and carers (93%)
- Sharing resources and activities (91%)
- Supporting children with remote learning (83%)
Respondents also felt that outdoor learning would be become even more important with 93% agreeing it was something they hoped would increase.