Parents as partners

Building and Sustaining Relationships

The relationship between parents and educators is a vital tool to not only further the educational and developmental opportunities for the child but to ensure they have the best opportunity to thrive. Forming positive relationships with teachers who do not know the family and may seem to have expectations the families do not understand, presents a range of challenges but the following aims to give the tools to work as a team with the child´s best interests in mind (Braukhane & Knobeloch, 2011).

Educators have clear visions and goals about how the routine in their kindergarten group works. Families from cultures with different pedagogical ideas/beliefs should express their concerns and sensitivities early on to help create the same level of comfort and trust (Siegel & Bryson, 2018). Parents are responsible for following rules in regard to the environment and settling-in and asking questions if something is unclear. Also, they should feel supported in understanding why rules exist and how these rules are developmentally appropriate and support child´s wellbeing.

Parents need to be open to discuss different techniques from what they do at home and feel comfortable with their children adapting to different boundaries and rules.  Parents could also consider whether some of these approaches and techniques could be used at home.

Parents and educators may not always see eye to eye, but their partnership depends on being able to have conversations and learn from one another. This is the best way children are guaranteed absolute success in settling in. Disagreements between educators and parents might occur, particularly on topics of routine, discipline and expectations. This should lead to conversations (when the child is not present) and/or meetings to find a common ground. It is helpful if a parent is unsure or disagrees with something to bring up the topic in a non-judgmental and child focused way, and to remember that both parent and educator have the child’s best interest at heart. 

If educators have created a truly open and trusting relationship with the families, it would be hoped that families feel comfortable approaching the educators if the dynamics of the family are changing (e.g. Divorce, changing to a different house). It is not vital that this information is shared but any and all cultural or family related information can be helpful for the educators to understand the home environment, as this will have an impact upon the child and their behaviour in the kindergarten.

Occasionally you may have different opinions to your child’s educators. It is important to voice your concerns to the educator and find the appropriate channels to find more information about standards, routines and procedure within the kindergarten. Get to know the manager / principal / director of the setting. If you feel that your concerns are not taken seriously, a local authority will be able to provide you with more information and support.