Effective partnerships with parents

Effective Partnerships with Parents

Our overarching aim is to have knowledgeable and interested parents who have a good relationship with the school. We recognise that children’s learning starts long before school with their parents and we try to break down any possible barriers between home and school.   The drive at Cragside is to actively invite parents into school from the beginning; to recognise the wealth of knowledge they already have about their children and to involve them in their future learning.

Prior to starting school

The dialogue starts in the summer term before children start in a Reception class.  A 'New Starters' meeting is held in the Summer term previous to the September start to explain to parents new routines and school expectations, an opportunity at which they get basic information about school and staff.  

Children are invited to visit Class teachers, Early years staff and their classrooms during whole school transition day.  Reception staff also visit children in their Nursery settings and hold conversations with Key workers to enable the child to be introduced to a representative from Reception, and to ensure a transition of information between the school and pre-school setting.  The conversation about learning becomes more formal once the children have been in school for a few weeks.  

Starting school 

Informal and formal dialogue about the children’s learning is part and parcel of practice. Initially parents are invited to come into school to drop off their child and see the classroom setting and the opportunity to talk with staff.  Weekly Newsletters keep parents informed about special events and news of what the children have and will be learning in school and often how they can help at home. 

Parents are invited to an Early Years Parents meeting which starts with a presentation about the EYFS, teaching and learning and how parents can help at home with a focus upon Early Writing, Reading and Numeracy.  This is followed by parents experiencing what their children actually do in the classroom with a ‘Stay and Play’ session.  Parents are encouraged to take part in typical Early Years Foundation Stage activities, with the staff on hand to talk with them about what the children will be learning through their play.

Interactive Learning Journeys

Parents are all encouraged to use the Interactive Learning Journeys, Tapestry, to regularly view their child’s learning and next steps with an often daily input.  Parents regular make positives comments about their child’s achievements and what they have been doing at home to help their child achieve further.  Parents also send photos, videos and information to Key workers and use it to keep staff up to date with particular interests or activities at home.  Tapestry is also particularly useful where school has no direct contact because both parents are working or are separated.  

Discussion with EYFS staff

The Early Years Foundation Stage Teachers, meet termly with parents and share their tracking of the children at these times.  These opportunities make for honest dialogue about what a child can do and is helpful if concerns about additional needs arise over time.  It also encourages parents to ask how they can help their child.  Teaching staff set targets and next steps for each child to be shared with parents.  EYFS staff are also available for brief discussion every morning.  If a parent wishes to discuss an issue with a member of staff in greater length, opportunity is available each morning to make an appointment at a mutually convinient time.  

Focus Child Weeks

‘Focus child week’ questionnaires are used to check with parents about what their children tell them they like doing at school, what they enjoy at home.  Focus child week’s are also used to observe and assess children whilst in their play and report back to parents.

Homework

Weekly homework tasks are a very useful way of informing parents of the learning and next steps.  Weekly homework generally supports the child’s particular stage of Letters and Sounds teaching they are accessing at home, and informs parents of aspects such as tricky words, digraphs and trigraphs, friendly enders, brave writing etc.   Mathletics and Active Learn is also used at home to support Numeracy and Phonic/reading teaching in school and is monitored by the teacher.  The schools text messaging service is used by Reception staff to acknowledge special achievements on Mathletics such as gaining a certificate!

Reading logs are used regularly to form dialogue between teaching staff and parents, not least about reading, but are a place to record termly targets, achievements with our School reading challenges, and store login in details for Interactive packages used at school.

Further Opportunies

As the Year progresses parents are invited in for Class Assemblies, providing the opportunity for the children to share their own learning with the parents.   Events such as ‘Stay and Play’ afternoons or a Reception Summer Garden Party, most recently with a focus on Numeracy, all support the parents to be included in their child’s learning.  Photographs and information of Early Years events are regularly shared on the schools website and the school's Twitter page.  Weekly school newsletters are distributed with news of any Reception achievements and events.

At Cragside Primary School the Foundation Stage staff strive to make everybody feel welcome and as included in their childs development as possible.  We are extremely proud of our friendly atmosphere.  If you have any questions about the Foundation Stage or would like to visit, please feel free to contact a member of staff  either though them or by making an appointment via the school office.