A meaningful Partnership with Parents has always been an integral part of early childhood practice. Covid-19 has challenged this long-held practice and it is essential that we do not let this slip away under the justification that ‘it’s not safe’, ‘parents cannot come into the room’, ‘visitors are not allowed at present’.
Although there are many aspects of partnership with parents, this article puts a spotlight on partnership concerning children’s learning and development and the importance of engaging with technology like MOSAIC to keep children at the centre of practice in a changing world due to Covid-19.
So why is a partnership with parents so important?
Well, if you are looking for an indicator of quality, you do not have to look much further than a meaningful partnership with parents where the child’s needs are central to communication between the home and the early childhood setting.
This is because:
- Partnership promotes mutual respect for each other’s role in the child’s learning journey.
- Both parents and educators are ‘on the same page’ to allow consistency between home and the early childhood setting.
- Partnership enables the child to see parents and educators as role models for positive communication and a joint approach.
- Involvement is beneficial to parents as it builds on their knowledge of how children learn and supports them in their parenting role.
- This professional approach leads to positive outcomes for the early childhood setting by gaining a better understanding of the child’s needs, a professional reputation for the setting and improved staff motivation.
Sounds great in theory- but how do we do this with Covid, cleaning and a lack of time?
Well, this is where the amazing MOSAIC Educator and MOSAIC Family can help! Let us forget the ‘hard sell’ and instead consider how MOSAIC places the child at the centre of professional early childhood practice and maintains meaningful partnership with parents.
1: Seeing and supporting children’s learning as it unfolds
MOSAIC enables real time communication with parents through the learning story approach. This is not a scrapbook sent home every term or at the end of the year. This is a professionally designed ‘real time’ electronic storybook – full of learning stories, pictures, videos and update reports about a child. Vibrant, visual updates about a child’s achievements, progress and needs as they happen are communicated in technicolour!
As learning stories are simply written and individual to the child, they have powerful potential for maintaining meaningful connections with parents and families. Parents and wider family members get to see the magic of early childhood education unfold in front of their eyes through vibrant stories about their child, how he/she learns, what they enjoy doing and the type of learner that they are becoming.
2. Building the child’s emotional well-being
When parents and wider family members can see and celebrate the child’s achievements, this sends a clear message to the child that his/her efforts are valued. Children have an opportunity to talk about and reflect on their experiences, with both educators and family, building a positive self-image.
This also enables family members to further support and reinforce the child’s learning and development as it happens – making the most of vital sensitive learning periods.
In addition, seeing a learning story, video or picture that happened that day on their parent’s device in the evening, will also give children practical experience of how everyday technology is used and works.
3. Respecting the child’s voice and decisions
Children need to have ownership and make decisions about their creations and artwork. Instead of retaining a child’s ‘best’ work for a scrapbook, get the child to use technology to photograph their work for a picture story and let them take the original home.
This is important because as children create a piece of art or craft, they may have a narrative in their head about why this piece is being created, who it is for or what they intend to do with it.
Show respect for this sometimes ‘unvoiced voice’ by enabling children to always take their creations home in real time. Retaining work for a scrapbook or file which will not be seen for months ahead may ruin the moment.
4. Protecting children’s right to image privacy.
Children have a right to image privacy. Their personal image is their own. Child safeguarding is an important component of MOSAIC’s design. Each individual storybook has a personal photo/video gallery for each child.
All photographs/videos used in learning stories are automatically saved to the child’s unique gallery in their storybook. From the MOSAIC Family app, which is password protected for each user, parents can then download/ print/share photos and videos. Parents only have access to their own child’s gallery.
5. Using educator time efficiently to support children’s learning
MOSAIC makes professional documentation not only accessible but time efficient too. A range of tried and tested templates keep the focus on children’s early learning and care. Daily care logs for the under 3’s, automated sleep check, attendance register, learning stories, termly updates and group learning stories are only some of the templates available for educators.
To save educator time, all templates are pre-loaded with Aistear learning themes, goals and dispositions visible and ready for selection.
Educators do not have to worry about formatting transition reports at the end of the pre-school year. MOSAIC is enabled with 2 different Transition templates compatible with Mo Scéal. These are stored as part of the child’s storybook and automatically sent to parents via MOSAIC Family at the end of the pre-school year.
The handy ‘skills calculator’ within each child’s profile summarises all learning goals achieved by the individual child making completing transition reports evidence based and reliable.
These are only some of the many solutions-based features on MOSAIC. For example, MOSAIC’s messaging functions allow you to send video, picture or text messages to all parents or a selection of parents at once. No searching for numbers, no data protection breaches – just safe communication directly to a parent’s personal device.
So easily navigate challenges like Covid-19 and safeguard the vital relationship between the early childhood setting and the family. MOSAIC will enable you to engage with a professional communication solution that puts the child at the centre of early childhood practice. It is, after all, central to our role.
MOSAIC is designed as an electronic storybook that captures and documents the magic of a child’s early learning and care. ‘MOSAIC Educator’ is used by professional educators to record, support and enhance children’s learning and development.
Through the interconnecting ‘MOSAIC Family’ App, the early childhood service and nominated family members can access regular updates in the form of photographs, videos, learning stories and reports. For children under 3, daily care records are also communicated directly to a parent’s phone or tablet in real time.
Written by Avril McMonagle, founder of Meantóir and MOSAIC, April 2021