The fundamental importance of working in partnership with parents is one of the most crucial components of quality practice that will achieve best outcomes for the child. The emphasis on parental involvement is clearly articulated in regulatory, curriculum and quality frameworks, making it a cornerstone of quality practice,
Both ‘parental involvement’ and ‘parental engagement’ are important and can make a positive difference in a child’s life. However, when striving for best outcomes for the individual child, it is essential to understand the difference between the two.
So what’s the difference?
‘Parental involvement’ can represent different practices such as sharing parental aspirations for a child, participation in activities arranged by the early childhood setting, or using parent skills to enrich the early childhood curriculum. Whilst important and worthwhile, on its own, this level of engagement is at risk of being ‘tokenistic’ and superficial.
‘Parental engagement’ however represents active and meaningful involvement in children’s early learning and development. This requires greater and more consistent commitment by parents and by educators to work together for the benefit of the individual child.
Take a moment to reflect on this – how well is this area of your practice documented and evidenced in your early childhood service? This ‘quality check’ demonstrates how the two partner apps MOSAIC Educator and MOSAIC Family, tick all the boxes regarding high-quality, real-time liaison between parents and educators and provides an undisputed evidence base for meaningful engagement.
How MOSAIC Educator meets this quality standard
Firstly, and most importantly, MOSAIC is designed as a multi-modal form of assessment for learning which incorporates the voice of the educator, the child, and the parent. This inclusion of multiple perspectives and voices in the child’s learning and development is what makes MOSAIC a pedagogy tool with a difference.
Here are some of the ways the MOSAIC Educator app in partnership with MOSAIC Family app will ensure you are meeting this quality standard:
- MOSAIC is a real time communication system between home and the early childhood setting where child safeguarding is central to the design.
- All data is downloadable by parents from a safe and secure password protected platform prior to data being deleted as per GDPR timeframes.
- The individual child is central to the MOSAIC design, ensuring that learning updates and child safety checks are not generic in nature and are meaningful and engaging for parents.
- The Learning Story approach adopted within the MOSAIC framework allows for a strengths-based, emergent perspective about the child regardless of age or ability.
- A 2-way comment box is included on each learning story (Jan 22) which allows parents to enrich the story by adding their thoughts, ideas, or child comments from home.
- Parental engagement with learning stories is recorded with a ‘Read by parent’ confirmation on the bottom of each story. The percentage of parental engagement with stories is then recorded in the administration section of the educator app.
- The ‘Help me build on this..’ element of the learning story again empowers the partnership approach and enables both educators and parents to work in sync to take the child to the next stage.
- The inbuilt messaging function on MOSAIC Family enables parents to communicate with the early childhood setting from their app.
- ‘Group News’ allows the early childhood setting to get creative with group news updates, reminders, weekly menus, a policy or procedure or an upcoming event; to all parents in one post.
- The ‘Group Learning Story’ template in the administration section allows the educator to create group learning stories involving the whole class group or a pod in a collective story. These group stories can be posted on an outside notice board for parents to view, in a hallway where parents wait or in a display file in reception. Children can also use these group learning stories in their reflective floor books.
When striving for quality, early childhood settings and educators should recognise the difference between parental involvement and parental engagement. It is important to see the shift in emphasis, concerning the relationship between parents and the early childhood setting, and parents and their child’s learning. The use of MOSAIC Educator and MOSAIC Family ensures that the early childhood setting meets this core component of quality practice in a way that is accessible, secure and meaningful for everyone involved.
To find out more about MOSAIC Educator and MOSAIC Family or to book a demonstration, contact is at [email protected]
Avril McMonagle is Founder and CEO of MOSAIC Digital Solutions for Early Education. The company flagship products are the MOSAIC Educator and MOSAIC Family Apps which offer multi-modal documentation and assessment tools for professional educators. For more see www.mosaicearlyed.com; email [email protected] and follow us on social media @mosaicearlyed and LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/avril-mcmonagle-b91402194/