How can I become more involved?

There is no doubt that children learn a huge amount while in quality childcare; however parents are the first and most important educators in their child’s life. A majority of the time, children are in the home environment, where learning can and does happen naturally throughout their daily lives

Together, practitioners and parents can have a significant positive influence on a child’s learning and development. We believe that practitioners should work alongside families to support the pace and quality of the child’s developmental progress

We encourage all parents to become actively involved in their child’s learning by:

  • Working with you and your child, to develop the best approach to support and benefit your child’s overall development and learning. Your child’s key person makes time to find out from you more about your child’s interests, likes, dislikes and special arrangements.
  • Encouraging you to become more actively involved in your child’s setting by inviting you to join sessions. For example, you can read to children, take part in learning through play activities such as painting and cooking or volunteer to join outdoor activities by joining your child on special outings.
  • Supporting you to become more involved in the management of your child’s setting by joining a parent-run committee or parent forum.
  • Inviting you to regular open days or parent evenings - often planned outside working hours to fit with busy parent commitments.

How can I develop my skills and better understand my child’s learning and development?

We believe that family learning gives parents the skills to continue learning in the home after their child’s formal childcare takes place.

Family learning covers all types of informal and formal learning which involves more than one generation.  Family members can include friends as well as the wider family reflecting the range of support relationships children experience in the twenty-first century. 

Family life forms the foundation for learning; the attitudes of the wider family to learning and achievement have the most profound effect on children’s attitudes and involvement in learning

How it works:

  • Family members learn together in the home; this can be mothers, fathers, grandparents or anyone who cares for the child.
  • Parents continue fun, learning through play activities at home. Activity ideas are often shared by practitioners in short, friendly informal sessions at their child’s nursery, centre or pre-school. The sessions give parents the right skills to encourage their children’s learning beyond formal childcare into the home.
  • Parents can also take up opportunities to improve their own skills in areas such as mathematics and English. This helps them feel more confident when supporting their child with their learning in the areas of the EYFS, such as communication, language and literacy or problem solving, reasoning and numeracy.

Why it works

Evidence shows that learning in the home helps:

  • Improve educational outcomes for the children living there in the long term
  • Encourages more parents back into learning themselves and promotes more family interest in learning through play activities which directly benefit their child’s learning
  • Provides a strong base to help parents and practitioners to better support a child’s journey towards formal schooling
  • Improves relationships between parents and children

It also shows that parents who become more interested in their children’s learning generally makes the work undertaken by the childcare provider more effective

Fun activities to do at home:

  • Healthy eating quiz or fun with baking
  • Making puppets to improve communication
  • Home-made musical instruments
  • Number games and activities
  • Songs and rhymes
  • Exploring shapes (indoors or outdoors)
  • Visiting the library
  • Float or Sink (fun with water-based games)

Why become a volunteer at my child’s setting?

You can choose how much (or little) you wish to become involved.

You do not need any experience, although previous experience working with children or in childcare is invaluable. You may be interested in formal roles like a nursery assistant where you will receive lots of support including an induction or special training. Other roles may be more informal with flexible arrangements such as joining outings to the park, helping with a fundraising activity or running a toy library. Your child’s setting is always open to ideas.

Volunteering at your child's setting can help you:

  • Increase your enjoyment and understanding of the way your child learns
  • Learn new skills, gain confidence and practical experience
  • Make new friends and meet other parents
  • Develop and become part of a parent forum
  • Take up free training opportunities to help you progress into paid work
  • Get to know your child’s friends better
  • Explore new career opportunities in childcare
  • Give something back to your local community

More information

The best source of information on how to become more involved is likely to be your child’s key person or the manager.

You can find out more on available childcare roles here.