When it comes to a child’s development, effective cooperation between parents and our childcare staff is essential. This also has a positive influence on a child’s well-being and their enjoyment at Kindergarden. What is your view?
Lars: ‘As the main nurturers, the parents are always the focus. We also have a role, and we seek to cooperate with them. As a childcare staff member, you’re a professional – more than just someone who cares for a child. Some children are with us four days each week at after-school care, which means that you’re a co-carer; in partnership with the parent. Every day, I communicate with the parents about what their children are doing in the time they spend with us.’
‘In practice, many things just happen naturally. However, if a child needs some extra attention, then I discuss that with the parents. For example, for my exams I did an assignment about a child who had problems within a group. This little boy required a lot of attention, tested things and didn’t listen, while he is very nice and sweet on his own, and also when he is challenged a little more. You observe the behaviour, determine the purpose of your observations, and then discuss with the parents what you want to do. They know their child best, and know what’s good for their child. This means that we can help with parenting, where necessary.’
Nicole: ‘Parent participation, or childcare partnership, promotes the well-being, safety and development of the children. Every family has their own parenting rules and we have them too. We have conversations with parents focused on finding a way forward: we explain why we have certain child-rearing rules and rituals. We work together to coordinate these and ensure that the child has the best possible experience.’
What does that childcare partnership actually look like in daily practice at your location?
Nicole: ‘At the location, we use insights for this purpose: what is nicest for a child? How does a child develop most effectively?
As professional co-carers, we focus on the child’s individuality and ownership, and their autonomy and self-reliance. I hope that parents really come to recognise us as co-carers who are genuinely invested in the children’s development, and not just providing a care service while they work. And that it’s about much more than just sitting on the floor, playing a game, playing outside, eating, sleeping and nappy changes.’
Nikki: ‘In my opinion, the role of the childcare staff member is the most important in this respect. As a location manager, I can perform the first intake, make parents feel welcome and provide them with all the basic information, but ultimately they will be leaving their child with the childcare staff. And parents want to be able to feel good about leaving their child with them. That’s the foundation for the trust relationship. So in addition to the ‘office intake’, there is also always the intake with the childcare staff member in the group, which is about the most important person: your child. It covers our working method, what’s necessary, about bottles, and when it comes to after-school care, then it’s about how the child is picked up from school, and so on. Conversely, the childcare staff need to receive the space and the full confidence of the parents to care properly for their child.’