Four Festive Musical Productions to Put on this Christmas from Out of the Ark Music Out of the Ark Music
Top Lineup of Early Years Experts Announced for Childcare Expo Midlands Childcare Expo
Product Review – My World: Harvest and The Niki Davies Book of Songs for Autumn and Winter from Out of the Ark Music Out of the Ark Music
Sleep Training for Early Years Practitioners Focus Games
4 Reasons why you Should Take Expert Advice when Planning your Nursery’s New Menus Early Years Nutrition Partnership
Teach Early Years Magazine Subscribe today!
Teach Primary Magazine Subscribe today!
Teach Secondary Magazine Subscribe today!
Technology and Innovation Magazine Order now!
Teach Reading and Writing Magazine Order now!
Oxford University Press Courses
It’s often challenging to involve vulnerable families in their children’s education, but the best settings find a way to get through to mums and dads, says Sue Fisher…
Four Festive Musical Productions to Put on this Christmas from Out of the Ark Music
Christmas Page Borders with and Without Lines for Writing and Drawing – EYFS, KS1 and KS2
Southern Rocks 2019 – Why Teachers are Giving up their Saturdays for CPD
Printable Christmas Tree Bunting to Colour and Decorate for EYFS and KS1
We’re all aware that every child, and family, is unique. It’s this uniqueness that results in many having particular needs that may make it more difficult to develop effective communication and home-setting links – but it’s up to us to overcome these difficulties, particularly in the case of those classed as vulnerable, who need our help most of all.
Vulnerable families include those with a child with SEND, or where a parent themselves has an additional need/disability; isolated families; those with chaotic lifestyles; those who have low self-esteem; and those for whom English is an additional language or who are new to the area.
Finding ways to engage with these families can make a real difference: in its report ‘Teaching and Play in the Early Years’(2015), Ofsted found that, “The best settings worked as much with parents as they did with children,” noting that, “This was especially beneficial for the most vulnerable families, who came to trust and respect the school through the steps they had taken to engage them in their child’s learning in varied and non-threatening ways.”
When attempting to involve vulnerable families in your approach to the home learning environment, it’s important to be aware of individual circumstances and realise that traditional methods of sharing information, such as one-to-one communication or open events, may prove unsuccessful.
Instead, consider introducing highly visual, attractive and ‘attention-grabbing’ alternatives…
This is particularly important for parents where English is an additional language, or those with learning difficulties. Linking photographs, maps, diagrams or illustrations to simple bullet points is an effective information-sharing technique.
Offer opportunities for everyone to feel part of a group by developing projects that all families can participate in.
For example, invite families to take it in turns to take home and care for a ‘bedtime bear’, contributing to an enclosed diary in whichever method they feel comfortable with.
A small camera could accompany the bear to records his adventures.
Sending home a camera with a child can be an effective starting point in building partnerships with difficult-to-reach families. Photographs of the child’s experiences at home can then be included in their learning journey or made into a book to share.
For verbal recording, talk tins offer a fun way of sharing home experiences and conversations, as well as sounds in the environment.
Games that don’t require a verbal response or detailed explanation will build parents’ confidence in playing with their child at home. Simple, low-cost card games, in particular ‘pairs’ and matching games, are good examples, as are lotto and sound lotto.
Settings in receipt of the Early Years Pupil Premium could consider utilising funding to establish a games sharing library in addition to sharing books.
When sharing books, ensure you offer a range that will interest all groups, including visually stimulating picture books to encourage families to make up stories in their own individual ways.
Families that are new to your area may struggle to discover local opportunities for learning and enjoyment. One nursery I worked with decided that this was a particular area for development.
An information pack was developed containing details of attractions, including farms and museums, the local library and sports activities, with negotiated offers for some of these. Parents are encouraged to feed back on visits and take photos for inclusion in their child’s learning journey.
This setting also encourages inclusion in national events such as the RSPB’s ‘Big Birdwatch’, and this has triggered further interest in the natural world in a number of their children.
A final point for consideration for all families involves preparing for the transition to school.
This can be a challenging time for many children and parents, and the latter are often keener on home learning as their child approaches school age.
Whilst you may consider extending your home learning opportunities at this stage, it’s more important to maintain current systems, working with mums and dads to develop an awareness of how they help children develop the skills they will need when they step up to school.
Sue Fisher is an early years training consultant.
Get 8 KS3/4 maths lessons with expert teaching techniques
The Inn-spectors are in Bethlehem and they’re not pleased!
Sent out to make sure...
Imagine the scene (it won’t be hard; we’ve all been there): it’s a staff meeting and you’re finally down to AOB when the head says, “Okay, who wants to be Student Planner...
Download and print our free newspaper front page template. It’s perfect for both primary and secondary report writing activities and can help you cover eyewitness reports, journalistic bias and direct and...
On the whole, poetry and its purpose is completely removed from view through discussion anything the average teenager thinks or cares about; it’s our job as educators therefore to make it...
Get kids excited for World Book Day 2019 with wise words from their favourite authors...
Get planning for the literary event of the year this March, and celebrate in style...
In the first of a new series unlocking Shakespeare’s characters for GCSE students, Helen Mears highlights...
It's not too late to get hold of a ticket for this year's Southern Rocks...