Working with parents the focus of new trial with early educators
1 November 2019: The Parenting Research Centre is trialling a new practice support system designed to help early childhood educators in more effectively working with parents.
Sharing the findings of the trial’s field testing at the recent Early Childhood Australia Conference in Hobart, Senior Practice Design Specialist Olivia Clayton said the system offered educators practical support.
“The model we have developed reminds us that children thrive when the relationship between parents and educators is strong and the lines of communication are open,” Ms Clayton said.
“We know early childhood educators want to make a difference in children’s lives,” Ms Clayton said. “But they tell us that they often feel ill-equipped to work with families more broadly. In a survey we conducted in 2016, 98% of educators told us they wanted training in how to conduct conversations with parents about the children in their care.”
Plan ahead for working with parents
The Partnering with Parents support system enables educators to plan for everyday interactions with parents as well as conversations where they might raise or respond to a concern. In order to develop the system, the Parenting Research Centre consulted with early childhood professionals and centres. In addition, the Victorian Government supported the multi-year initiative.
It embeds evidence-based approaches to working in partnership with parents in an early childhood education and care service. Also, it aims to create an environment that is welcoming and responsive to parents. Consequently, it aims to strengthen educators’ skills and confidence to interact with parents in a way that supports their parenting.
A field test of the system conducted last year involved a 10-week training program at Gowrie Victoria Broadmeadows Valley and Carlton North, Acacia Children’s Services in St Albans and Richmond and Acacia Fitzroy Creche.
So as a next step, the Parenting Research Centre is trialing the system with 19 early childhood services across Victoria.