Building Effective Relations with Colleagues and Families in Childcare
The childcare profession offers numerous opportunities to build rewarding positive relationships with children, colleagues and parents. Building collegiality in childcare is the key to gaining maximum satisfaction and fulfillment.
Effective communication with colleagues and families
You will find that there is a lot of information available on building collaborative relationships between families and colleagues in childcare. This article is intended to introduce you to the key concepts of relationship building with the key stakeholders.
Collaboration with families in childcare
Establishing strong connections with families will help to build mutual trust and respect. This will help parents to build confidence in the care worker’s professionalism and ability. This confidence helps to break down barriers and encourages open communication about any issues or concerns that they may hold about their child. This rapport will help to encourage parents to more readily participate in centre activities.
Some proven ways to foster good relationships with families include:
- A welcoming atmosphere in childcare encourages families to participate in daily activities. Encourage an open environment that encourages questions about centre activities and programs. This openness can be extended to displaying the child’s work and sharing it with his or her parents.
- Pursue a policy of open communication. It is a parent’s right to know how their child is progressing. While communicating with families in early childhood education may at times appear to be one way, it is the childcare professional’s duty to maintain open lines of communication through a range of channels including personalised notes, newsletters, question boxes and child communication books.
- Make use of a notice board to share general news about the centre. A notice board is a great tool and means of collaboration with families in childcare. Typically, you can provide information about the weekly program, upcoming events and the latest newsletter. Often the notice board acts as a visual prompt and reminder for events mentioned through other channels.
- Give plenty of advance notice for special family day events such as a mother’s day event, or a parent’s information evening.
- Encouraging family input into the program and planning is a wonderful way of building relationships with families in early childhood education. Open conversations provide opportunities to incorporate family events into the program. This interaction helps to build bridges between families and educators.
- Organise social events for educators and parents. A social event can be a fundraiser or simply a social occasion. The point is that these events can really help to break down barriers and build connections.
Effective communication with colleagues
Working to build positive relationships with colleagues helps to build a better atmosphere within the childcare environment. The key to building positive relationships is open and clear communication. Ways to make communication effective include:
- Be open to fresh ideas and feedback regardless of how many years of experience that you may yourself have in childcare. A willingness to listen to new perspectives and even concerns helps to keep the lines of communication open.
- Be prepared to offer help when required. There’s a fine line here between being overbearing and helpful. The key is to make it known that you are available and willing to help when required. A simple enquiry asking if somebody needs help with something can go a long way towards building trust and relationships.
- Encourage people to collaborate on problems.
- Foster an atmosphere of open, honest communication. Creating an atmosphere where staff feel free to communicate openly but respectfully with each other helps build rapport and a sense of team. To support this, any staffing issues that arise should be dealt with promptly, fairly and appropriately.
- Don’t forget the social aspect. Social settings help staff to get to know each other better and to let their personalities shine through. The great thing about staff social functions is that they don’t have to be over thought – they can be as simple as an occasional get together for a meal at a restaurant or a barbecue.
Ultimately building effective relationships relies upon a preparedness to work together. It is an essential factor in the childcare setting and one that makes the working environment a more inviting place for all.