Strong parental involvement leads to a successful start into nursery education

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Borras Park Infants School Early Education has strong partnerships with parents. Parents clearly understand the setting’s aims and play an active role in developing these. Children are able to settle quickly and are prepared well for the infant school.. The levels of children’s wellbeing and their standards of achievement are high.

Information about the setting:

Borras Park Infants School Early Education is an English-medium setting in Wrexham, North Wales.  It is located in a building within Borras Park Infant School.  The setting has access to the school’s extensive outdoor areas, including the use of the Forest School area.  The setting is open for five afternoons per week.  There are four practitioners employed in the setting.  The setting is registered to take up to 27 children and takes in children from the age of three, all of whom are funded by the local authority.  Nearly all children speak English as their first language.

 Context and background to sector-leading practice

The setting’s report states:

The setting has an extensive range of highly effective partnerships. Partnerships with parents are particularly strong.  Leaders are proactive in sharing the setting’s aim and objectives regularly with them.  The setting provides high levels of information for parents via the setting’s notice board and regular newsletters, through the web site and by daily personal contact.  Parents have a very clear overview and understanding of the setting’s aims and its areas for development, and feel that they play an active role in developing these.  Parents are especially appreciative of the home visits undertaken prior to their child starting at the setting.  By being able to observe children in their own environment, practitioners support each child’s wellbeing and individual learning needs highly effectively on entry to the setting. This high quality induction helps children to settle quickly and confidently.”

Description of nature of strategy or activity identified as sector-leading practice

We first get to know our children and parents through carrying out home visits and encouraging parents to visit us.  During an initial coffee afternoon, parents have the opportunity to meet the staff, share any concerns they have about their children and find out more about the additional wrap around day care the setting provides.  During home visits, we have the opportunity to observe how children behave in their own environment, and find out about children’s individual interests and needs.  Parents appreciate the visits and their views help staff gain useful insights so that they are well prepared to help children settle quickly and benefit fully from their time in the setting.  We find that parents often volunteer more information when they have the chance to discuss issues in a more familiar and less public forum.

To help children settle in, we operate a phased entry for small groups of ten during the first week of term.  This gives practitioners more time to get to know the children properly and for all children to become accustomed to our routines.  During this period, practitioners provide daily feedback to parents, who then share any additional information as the need arises.  We ensure that there are clear lines of communication between parents and carers and the setting at all times through our open door policy and newsletter, and by sending regular text messages to parents.

We work hard at keeping parents informed about their children’s progress as well as helping them see how they can support their children at home.  We hold fortnightly ‘video books sessions’ for parents, where they can see what their children have been doing at the setting.  This provides useful opportunities to discuss children’s progress in a meaningful way.  We also share information about child development and ideas about activities that parents can do at home to support their child during these sessions.  We provide resources specifically tailored to the needs of individual children for parents to use at home, for example number bags, toileting reward charts and scissor skill bags. We also run a series of informative workshops which cover a range of areas of learning, to develop children’s and parents’ skills, such as such as ‘Developing Welsh at Home’, ‘Number Time and Number Rhyme’, and ‘Toileting for Tots’.  The themes of the workshops and the resources produced are often linked to children’s interests, which we have observed in the setting.

What impact has this work had on provision and learners’ standards?

The thorough induction processes contribute significantly to the very high standards and levels of wellbeing our children achieve.  Nearly all children settle in well and demonstrate high levels of independent learning quickly.  Parents regularly express an interest in developing their own skills across a range of different areas of learning and ask for more ways in which they can support their child’s learning at home.  The focus of the workshops varies to meet the needs of the children and parents in the setting.  Workshops are well attended with parents reporting greater confidence in helping their children at home and an improvement in wellbeing as a result.  Our recent inspection report states that ‘nearly all children make very good progress, and a few children make exceptional progress, from their starting points across nearly all areas of learning.’  We feel that most of our children develop a wide range of knowledge, understanding and skills that prepares them very well for the next step in their education.  The close co-operation between home and the setting contributes significantly to the children’s wellbeing and builds firm foundations for our children in preparation for future transition to the local infant school.