Working in partnership with our parents/carers is vital, both in regards to the emotional needs of the child, and the wider support needs of the family. We aim for a seamless transition between the home and nursery environments, helping children to feel safe and secure, and aiding them with their the social, emotional and learning needs. 

The exact methods used to develop and maintain strong partnerships with parents/carers may vary slightly depending on the individual context of each setting; however, the key measures utilised include:

  • Home Visits - Where two staff (usually the manager and key person) visit the child and family in their home, providing a fantastic opportunity for the child and family to get to know the staff in a familiar and comfortable setting, whilst also enabling staff to gain a holistic understanding of the child's family background, interests, likes/dislikes, health requirements, and other individual needs. We strive to offer home visits to all of our children during the settling-in process, and soon will offer them during key transitional periods. 

  • Settling-In Visits - Provide children and their parents/carers with the opportunity to visit the nursery together, helping them to become familiar with the staff and environment before starting with formal childcare. Usually, settling-in visits start as a shorter session (about an hour), and increase as the child begins to settle in to the setting. The exact number and structure of the settling-in visits is always catered to the individual needs and wishes of the child and their family. 

  • Key Person ApproachEvery child is allocated a Key Person as part of their registration and settling-in process, providing the child and family with a consistent person and contact at the setting. The Key Person will begin to develop an in-depth understanding of a child's individual needs, preferences and family background/culture, and they will work closely with the families to help the child feel settled and emotionally secure whilst they are in our care. We continuously review the relationship between children/families and their key person to ensure the member of staff with the closest relationship with the child/family is the allocated key person. 

  • Famly App - Provides staff and parents with a user-friendly and live platform to share what the children are up to during their day at nursery, providing updates on their activities, meals, sleep patterns, among many others. The app also provides a direct messaging service between staff and parents/carers, and provides an online learning journal that can be used to share live 'observations' relating to the child, and allows parents to comment on nursery observations or even add their own observations of the child at home with ease. 

  • Parent Involvement at the Setting - We are always happy to welcome parents into the setting to share their skills and experiences, to enrich learning opportunities for children through activities such as cooking, read stories, or to share experiences based on their job roles (such as the fire services). Every site also offers regular opportunities for parents to be involved on a practical level within the nursery by offering stay and play sessions, open days, trips, fundraising activities, among others, which are arranged by each individual setting.
  • Sharing of Resources - Most Acorn settings have resources for children to take home to continue their learning and develop the interests they have shown at nursery. Some of the examples on offer might include: books or 'busy bags' which contain specific resources and materials relating to an activity or theme. We are always open to discussing or demonstrating to parents/carers how these resources can be used or what other activities the children could engage in at home. 

  • Ongoing Feedback Every year we send out a comprehensive feedback survey which provides families with the opportunity to provide feedback relating to all areas of our care and provision. We also actively encourage ongoing feedback through discussions with staff, through Famly, or through other methods that nurseries might put in place, such as feedback boxes. 

  • Training for ParentsAs an early years training provider, Acorn also has a range of training courses that we can offer to our parents. These are arranged on an individual basis at each site, but are usually delivered by our highly qualified and experienced team of trainers. Any parent/carer interested in undertaking training in any area, from first aid to creative play activities, should express interest to the manager at the nursery their child attends.