‘Parents are children’s first and most enduring educators. When parents and practitioners
work together in early years settings, the results have a positive impact on children’s
development and learning.’
‘A Welcoming atmosphere with approachable staff
helps to create effective communication’
Unless you are working with another Childminder or an assistant, you will be totally
responsible for creating a welcoming atmosphere.
A good start to each day is to ensure that you are ready to start work. Greeting
parents at the door in your nightwear is not professional and can be embarrassing
for them. Ensure that everything is ready for the children, a few toys out so that
the children can settle and then later have the confidence to select their own. Ensure
that the packing of your own childrens’ lunches etc has been done prior to the minded
children’s arrival, so that you have time to greet parents and exchange any information.
(‘Early doors: experiences for children in day care during the first hour of the
day’ was a document produced from research carried out by Ofsted:
It provides information on working in partnership at the start of the day)
Try to greet parents by their names, ensuring you are pronouncing them correctly.
This will help them to feel valued as individuals and not just the child’s mum/dad.
‘Effective communication means there is a two-way flow of information, knowledge
and expertise between parents and practitioners.’
There are many ways that a Childminder and Parent can share information from informal
chats at the start/end of each day to more formal feedback sheets. Here are a few
suggestions that you might like to try. Those underlined link to more detailed information
on the site or documents that you can download to use or adapt.
A good portfolio shared with parents enables a Childminder to demonstrate their practice
through policies, procedures, photographs etc. Have you considered arranging your
portfolio under the 5 EveryChild Matter Outcomes. Download a set of sample folder
dividers that contain a suggested contents list for each outcome, linked to EYFS
For day to day comunications then telephone, texts and email contacts are all effective,
depending on what the parents find most useful. Providing photographic/video clips
of the children is also a great way of sharing with parents. Rather than printing
of 100s of photographs, why not put them all on a CD rom and give to parents on a
It is important to involve parents in the Inspection process. The following are sample
letters that can be adapted and used to inform parents that your inspection is due
and the results of it.
‘All communication is important, including gesture, signing and body language. Actions
can speak louder than words.’
It is important that you actively listen to parents and demonstrate to them that
you are listening. Maintain eye contact, nod to show you are listening and say ‘yes
I see…’ Repeat back in brief what the parent has said to you then ask them to extend
further. Ask ‘open’ ended questions, beginning with what, when, where, why and how.
At the end of the conversation thank the parent for sharing with you and tell them
how useful you have found it.
Remember your body language. Shuffling feet, tapping fingers and yawning indicates
that you are not interested in the conversation. Avoid crossing your arms as this
signifies you are putting a barrier up/being defensive.
Ensure that your own mood/ personal problems do not affect the way you communicate
with parents, this could be very negative.
‘Posters, pictures and other resources on display will show the setting’s positive
attitudes to disability, and to ethnic, cultural and social diversity. They will
help children and families to recognise that they are valued.’
A Childminding setting is also their home so it is quite understandable that most
Childminders are reluctant to have posters all over their walls. Using a large notice
board that can be taken down outside minding hours and stored behind the sofa could
be a solution. Alternatively you could use display folders containing postive images.
(see also respecting diversity page)
All settings must display the Ofsted Early Years Poster. This was re-designed in
May 2007 Download Poster