I am the busy owner and manager of a successful After School Club in Surrey, I decided to continue my professional development by starting the CACHE Level 4 Certificate for the Advanced Practitioner via The Teaching Assistant College in March 2018.
One of the units required me to plan, implement and evaluate change in relation to an identified theme. This took the format of a small-scale research project. I had to select a theme and then reflect on our practice and use current research to produce recommendations for improvements, implement these recommendations and summarise findings.
‘Effective partnership working between parents, families and practitioners is vital when ensuring the best possible outcomes for young people’
This was the theme I decided to look at for my research project. I started by finding out via a questionnaire/feedback form what staff and our parents thought about the ways in which we communicated with them. The questionnaire was delivered face to face via students from our local 6th form college, it was also emailed, and hard copies were available to collect.
After the closing date I analysed the information, my setting caters for working parents and therefore they have limited time for discussion at pick up after a long day at work so I was keen to look at other ways we could communicate and incorporate modern day technology. Parents suggested other forms of communication that we could use, staff also came up with some great ideas. Skype, Real Time Observations sent via text or email, Interactive Notice Board were just some of the ideas that came to light.
As a team we looked through the feasibility of using the suggestions made and as a team we went for the three mentioned previously. We held a fantastic end of year parent information evening (never done before!) a presentation was shown, and discussions were had about the ways we were moving forwards with our communication making it more accessible for parents to find out about their child’s development around times that suit them. It was an extremely successful evening; the staff were fully involved as were all parents and carers.
An upshot of the project has been that we have regular scheduled Skype meetings with parents, especially those who may come from broken families and have limited contact with their children. Grandparents get involved too; other professionals have also started to use Skype more often to communicate with us. Our interactive notice board is working a treat, and everyone uses it regularly to show new development milestones, share information with key workers, parents with lots of photos from both sides on display! Real time messaging has put many parents’ minds at ease they can see that their child is having a great time, the children also love that their parents are watching them playing! We will continue to look at new ways to share information, parents have recently started their own Facebook page to help with all sorts of things like lost uniform, help with pickups etc.
This course has not only enabled me to feel more confident about making changes and improvements to my setting, but it has also strengthened our team massively. We have more regular meetings, I have involved staff fully in any changes, asked their opinions and found out how I can improve their own skills and development. The children and parents have benefited greatly, they are all so supportive and can see what a difference these changes have made. Our care of the children has extended, we have thought about other ways that we can support the children in our care. We now have a regular Yoga teacher Lindsey who comes once a week to the setting to help those children with anxiety issue. We use meditation in our quiet room daily, access to resources has been improved for self-section, our planning has improved it ensures diversity and inclusion for all. Overall the course has reignited my passion to care for and support children, young people and their families through play.
2 weeks after writing this case study, Emma got in touch..... "Just wanted to let you know I had a surprise visit from Ofsted today and I got Outstanding! They were really impressed with all the changes I have made due to my course and how it’s all impacted on the setting! They also said I’m Outstanding and real example as to how settings should be run."
Bright Sparks Childcare