Connecting with parents through technology
Bridging the communications gap between parent and practitioner is vital for child development. But how can settings get this right?
Chris Reid, chief exec and founder of Connect Childcare, explores more.
Technology in the early years setting
These days, technology is all around us – in both our work and home lives. When it comes to early years education, it’s being used more and more to help staff streamline operations and, ultimately, enhance child development.
As a result, it is increasingly being seen as an enabler for childcare providers – often removing the admin headache and helping them to free up more time to spend with the children in their care.
For managers and practitioners alike, the daily, essential tasks – such as taking registers, recording drop-offs and pick-ups, logging key moments, processing payments, and generating invoices or business reports – are all cogs that are crucial in ensuring the smooth running of the nursery machine.
While paper-based systems may have been used in the past for many of the above activities, in today’s digital age, a growing number of settings are turning their attention towards technology to help them complete tasks quicker and with more efficient resource allocation.
Having all setting-related information – be that child records, grant funding, or parental emails – all in one centralised system, not only helps childcare professionals to save time completing conventionally lengthy tasks but it also helps to create an idea of the ‘bigger picture’. Managers can easily see staff resource levels and make informed decisions on assigning ratios, practitioners can quickly record children’s learning milestones, and parents can seamlessly engage with and participate in their little one’s education journey.
Parent and practitioner communication
Child development is at the heart of the early years sector, and every professional knows that it can’t be timed and confined to the time that toddlers are within the childcare setting – it takes place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
And that’s a key reason why bridging the communication gap between parents and practitioners is vital.
This ‘joined-up’ approach to children’s learning not only helps to create a more consistent and cohesive learning experience, but this collaboration also has the potential to dramatically improve how supported early years professionals feel in the workplace too.
Practitioners can log youngsters’ learning moments in real-time and send them quickly to parents, who are then able to feel a part of their little one’s day – no matter if they’re at home, out and about, or at work. In addition, this also helps families to get a true depiction of any areas their child may need further support at home – helping to promote and extend child development outside of the nursery setting and into the home environment.
In the absence of technology to communicate with parents quickly and effectively – whether via written, voice or video – childcare professionals would’ve previously relied on creating and providing paper-based updates. They would also have had to schedule a conversation or start an email exchange with busy parents to get a true understanding of how the children in their care behave when in the home setting. After all, youngsters may display different attitudes and feel differently when away from nursery. And with app-based communications, it makes it easier and more efficient for everyone to join up the dots and play a significant role in helping children to progress.
Therefore, an important message for professionals within the sector, and families with little ones in childcare – is to ‘keep talking’. Not only will this really help to close the development loop and create a holistic approach to learning, but it will assist in fostering stronger parent-practitioner relationships in the long-term, too.
To truly discover what Connect Childcare’s nursery management software can do, book a demo with the team.
Date published: September 28, 2021