6.1.1 Engagement with the service

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Families are supported from enrolment to be involved in the service and contribute to service decisions.

Look at the points below and see how many you incorporate at your centre, then hold a discussion about what you do well and where you could improve.

  • We invite and encourage families and children to visit and become familiar with the centre before they start
  • We encourage families to talk with educators about the values and expectations they hold in relation to their child’s time at the service before, during and after the enrolment process
  • We encourage families to share information about other child-related services accessed by the family (i.e. speech therapist, doctors etc)
  • We encourage families to stay with their child for as long as they choose during the settling-in period and on an ongoing basis
  • We encourage families to contact the service, and their child’s educator/s during the day if they wish
  • We assist families to develop and maintain a routine for saying goodbye to their child
  • We offer comfort and reassurance in a way that is suited to the child during separation from their family
  • We share honest information with families about how their child is settling into the service, and how the service identifies the individual education and care requirements of each child and their family
  • We describe to families how the settling-in process is tailored to meet their child’s need
  • We gather information from families to support continuity of care between home and the service
  • We learn about the family’s expertise, culture, values and beliefs and priorities for their child’s learning and wellbeing
  • We consistently support families to participate in the service, make meaningful contributions to the child’s room and centre.

List all the good things you do as a service when you enrol new children.

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List the things you may need to improve.

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Here is an example of a well written note and learning document for a parent, with the parent’s response at the end. This was displayed on Dubbo Early Learning Centre’s Nursery 2’s closed Facebook page.

Nice and safe! (Eliza)

This morning after Leo was delivered he was a little unsettled. Eliza sat down with Leo and gave him some cuddles. When Leo felt safe and secure Leo ventured off from Eliza’s lap to explore the environment in the Nursery yard. When Leo started to feel a little unsure about his surroundings he crawled back over to Eliza and communicated through non-verbal communication the need for some comfort (L.O 1.1) by placing his arms up in the air for a cuddle. Eliza responded sensitively to Leo’s signal (L.O 1.1) by giving him a cuddle. Leo ventured off again and crawled behind Eliza and climbed up the back of her shirt. Leo initiated a play experience (L.O 1.1) by tapping Eliza on her back then walking around to her side to give her a big smile then walking back. Leo did these steps several times. Eliza spent time interacting with Leo (L.O 1.1) while playing his little game.

Throughout the day Leo gained confidence as he ventured off by himself to see what is around Nursery 2. As Leo was crawling around he was sharing happiness and satisfaction (L.O 3.1) by sharing a big smile with his peers.

Parent response: Thank you SO much for taking such great care of Leo.

Exceeding theme 3: Practice is shaped by meaningful engagement with families and/or the community. The biggest influence on children’s lives comes from their family and community. When we understand more about the child’s family we can build a stronger relationship with the child and ensure they feel supported and included.

Home visits

Some centres implement home visits as a part of their enrolment process and to build relationships with parents and children.

Each visit takes 45-60 minutes and is carried out by two educators who have a set list of questions to ask. This ensures they find out about the child’s family, routines, favourite songs and activities. Some of the benefits include:

  • Helps new children settle on their first day because they have had an opportunity to meet and play in their own familiar space which makes transition from home to the centre much easier.
  • Improves relationships with parents
  • Educators get to know parents outside the service which allows parents to explain home routines and gives educators an opportunity to collect a wealth of information about their family
  • Educators engage with children in their own home which gives educators greater insight into the family and in turn makes it easier to create curriculum for the children

We discuss home visits more under Element 6.2.1. Try them. They work very well and will get you exceeding.

Exceeding theme 2: Practice is informed by critical reflection. The NQS Guide wants all educators to demonstrate self-awareness and be purposeful in the consideration of different perspectives that influence their pedagogy and the practice across the service. Critically reflect by looking through parents’ eyes. The element 6.1.1 says ‘Families are supported from enrolment to be involved in the service and contribute to service decisions.’

Think of yourself as a parent and look through their eyes. How would your enrolment process be for them?  Imagine the parent returning to work. How would it feel? Do you do enough for the parent to know how their child is? Does the parent know their child has friends? Keep asking other educators what their view would be if they were a parent. Remember, critical reflection is seeing from another perspective to see if your practice needs changing.

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Think of yourself as a relief educator that is in your room for a short time, perhaps for lunch covers. Is your enrolment process the best for them? Do they know the children’s names, likes, dislikes etc?

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After this critical reflection what practice have you changed? This is what you need to show your assessor to get exceeding.

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Exceeding theme 1: Practice is embedded in service operations – Let’s look at the last part of the element 6.1.1 Families are supported from enrolment to be involved in the service and contribute to service decisions.’ To do this we need the skills to build relationships through conversations. Below is a great ‘Greeting Parents Procedure’ that will build trust and in turn get families involved in the centre to ensure they are making decisions.

When a parent walks into the room in the morning educators must:

⦁ Make eye contact and say “Hi __________ (parent’s name)” and then “Hi__________ child’s name” by physically getting down and looking in the child’s eyes, then giving the child a big hug and welcome.

⦁ Start an informal conversation and ask things like:
(a) how the parent and child are
(b) whether the child had a good sleep
(c) is there anything we need to know eg medication that needs to be administered
(d) who will be collecting the child in the afternoon
(e) what they’ve been doing during the week (to get curriculum ideas)

Script
Educator: “How are you Nadine and Jackson? It’s good to see you today.”
Nadine (parent): “Hi Rachel – say hi Jackson.”
Educator: “Did Jackson have a good sleep?”
Nadine: “Yes, he slept all the way through.”
Educator: “That’s great Jackson. You will have lots of energy to have fun with your friends and learn lots of exciting things. Now Nadine, (use the parent’s name as many times as you can) is there anything we need to know like giving Jackson medication?”
Nadine: “No, all good.”
Educator: “What exciting things have you been doing on the weekend or over the week?”
Nadine: “Nan is visiting us from Townsville.”
Educator: “Wow Townsville is a long way away. We better explore this more today with our program.”
Educator: “Who will be picking up Jackson today?”
Nadine: “Daddy will.”
Educator: (look at Jackson and say) “That’s great Daddy will pick you up today. I’ll look after you and keep you safe until Daddy comes and picks you up. Give mum a big hug and say goodbye and we’ll put your bag in the locker and go and play.”
Nadine: “Thanks Rachel. Have a good day Jackson. I love you.”
Note: I will look after you and keep you safe until Daddy comes and picks you up. These words come from Dr Robyn Dolby’s research, and it works very well


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