Parents' involvement : always the same ones?
As daycare workers, we often feel it is insufficient. At times it is frustrating and you may feel that parents just don't care. Should parents be blamed? I believe it is possible to make it enjoyable and translate it into lasting memories. Not sure what I am talking about? PARENTS' INVOLVEMENT! It is disappointing to see parents refuse to participate in activities we plan. Ask yourselves, do you have silent expectations? Let me explain myself. Do you clearly verbalize your needs? If the answer is no, how can you expect parents to offer their help?
Here is a clear example. I have heard daycare workers say, "Why do I bother to complete the communication journals? Parents don't read them." I am curious. Have they ever stopped and asked themselves how they use this wonderful communication tool? If day after day the following appears: nice day, has fun, good job, and if the message is repetitive, it is not surprising that parents don't read it. Which parent could resist reading a funny anecdote, his child's expressions, or a message from his child? I know very few. The tool must be made attractive.
How can we get parents more involved, or at least give them the desire to get involved? Why not invite them to spend a morning with you? Parents could speak to the group about a personal topic. Children always enjoy having a guest for a special activity. Children are always very proud to share their daycare with their parents!
Here is a list of occasions which are perfect for involving parents.
- Professions Day: ask parents to speak to the group about their profession. They can bring objects they use for their work.
- Invite a parent to tell the group about a trip or special activity.
- Invite a grandmother to come tell children about her childhood or bake cookies with the group.
- Invite family members who have a pet to visit.
- Invite a parent to perform for the group (musical instruments).
- If there are different nationalities within the group, an introduction to the traditions, foods, and customs of children's countries of origin can be enriching.
- Suggest a craft project for the weekend and ask parents to complete it with their child.
- Invite parents to join you on an outing.
- Ask parents to describe their passion to the group: gardening, scrapbooking, carpentry, etc.
I believe that when parents are not involved in their child's daycare, it is not because they are not interested. I feel that they often simply do not know how to go about it. If you provide suggestions, I am sure that several parents will be happy to invest in their child's daycare life.