BY HEIDI WOODARD, RESOURCE & REFERRAL COUNSELOR/AUTHOR, FREDONIA
Child care is a necessary part of life for many families. Child care not only promotes growth and development in children, but it also helps to strengthen families and communities.
Creating a Positive Relationship Children benefit most when parents and providers work together to plan and provide care. In a partnership, child care providers bring their knowledge of children's educational and developmental needs and parents bring the knowledge of their children's strengths, needs, and interests. Together, parents and providers develop goals that are best for each child within the child care setting.
Positive relationships between parents and providers are created by two-way communication, a feeling of trust, sharing of goals and expectations, providing information and resources, and having opportunities to make joint decisions about the care children will receive. A successful partnership between parents and providers will have some of the following qualities: • Parents and providers communicate on a daily or other regular basis. • Parents trust and feel at ease with the child care program. • There are many opportunities for parents to be involved in activities in the child care setting. • Providers are always asking parents for input and feedback on the program. • Children are doing well and happy within the child care setting.
Benefits of a Partnership According to NACCRRAware: when the parent-provider relationship is working at its best, there are many opportunities to add to the overall development of children and to provide family-centered services. A successful parent-provider partnership is good for everyone: • Children have support in their daily activities. • Parents benefit when providers and staff understand and respond to their children's needs, and provide information and resources that help them. • Providers benefit by having the much needed input, support, and participation of parents for their program.
When Choosing a Child Care Provider: Parents should ask about and look for the following:
Program's policies and daily activities 1. Do they provide the kind of activities you want for your child? 2. Do you agree with their discipline procedures? 3. Are there any program policies you may need to ask about? 4. Do they encourage parent involvement. If so, what kind?
Program's policies and daily activities 1. Are you as a parent comfortable with the provider? 2. Do you think your child will fit in well? 3. How do they prefer to communicate? 4. Is that compatible with your style? How do they interact with other children? Helping A Child Care Provider Get to Know Your Child:
There are many ways you can help a provider get to know your child and your expectations for child care.
Here are a few:
1. Make a one page diagram of your child - place a picture of your child in the middle of the page with your child's name and age underneath. Draw lines from the outer edges of the picture and form small boxes around the picture with different categories, such as: Favorite Foods (apples, pizza), and Favorite Activities (painting, building). This is a fun and creative way to let a provider know about your child.
2. Share photos of our child with the provider and tell her about each one.
3. Have a talk with the provider about what your hopes and expectations are for your child while in child care.
4. Volunteer to help out in the program whenever you can. Let the provider know you support the program.
Heidi Woodard is a resident of Jamestown, NY. She graduated from Jamestown Community College with honors, and earned an Associates degree in Social Sciences. She also graduated from SUNY Fredonia with highest honors earning a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She is currently employed with the Chautauqua Child Care Council a service of Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc.