November 5, 2018
by K. Cameron
Today we had our first PFG meeting- many thanks to Laura, Shalinay, Giselle and Krista for coming along and for their very informed and valuable contributions to the meeting. It was really helpful to get an overview of parents experience of our nursery, and there were very positive comments about the online Learning Journals and the Nursery News blog. The Word Aware Book and Words of the Week were also thought to be a good idea.
We were very keen to get ideas on of how best to share the strategies staff are being given, to help develop language and communication, with parents. We talked about the need to give children time to respond to our language and not jump in to finish sentences or speak for them. It was suggested that the children also need to be made aware of this, and that we might approach this in a playful way, as “conversation detectives”!! This is a great idea and will be on the agenda at the next staff planning meeting! Krista highlighted imaginative play as a wonderful way to extend language and vocabulary – something we can also add to our planning.
We discussed communication with parents and Laura told us about her experience with the school’s class Facebook page – a closed group where parents can network and respond to things happening in Nursery. This seems like a brilliant idea – and we decided to set it up, and try it. We are aware that not all our parents read the blog, though it is available on a facebook page, but a closed group would mean parents could message one another and also might be more willing to comment on what they like and don’t like about our nursery. Giselle pointed out that there is a facility to comment on your child’s learning in the Learning Journal, but parents may not be aware of this, or be sure what to put in. Please comment on the learning – it is really good to know if your child has taken their learning home with them and is able to use it in other contexts, or discuss it with you. It is also nice for your child to have your voice in their journal.
Play Prompts for Parents were also discussed – ideas of things to try with your child. It was felt that a Facebook page would allow parents to chat about how these worked and swap ideas and experiences.
Our Stay and Play Board- our current method of inviting parents in to nursery.was discussed. It was generally felt that the board was a bit intimidating as it required parents to say what they felt they were good at – something as West of Scotland adults, we struggle with. It was suggested that we be more specific about what we ask parents to help with, or do. For example, a “Read your child’s favorite book to their group” with a sign up sheet for times, was felt to be a good idea and has been popular in other nurseries. We fully appreciate that it is not possible for everyone’s parents to come in to do this, however we thought the child could nominate the member of staff they would like to read for them, or perhaps even invite a special guest, like a gran or even Mr Graham, our headteacher, to be their reader.
Laura also told us about a previous nursery, which had a policy of inviting parents in for the last half hour of the Friday session to taste baking, join in song time, play outdoors etc. This allowed the children a chance to really show their parent round their nursery, and gave parents a chance to see what was being learned in the nursery that week. It was also a chance for parents to meet and get to know one another. We love this idea, and although it will be a bit of a challenge, as we are an all day nursery, we are going to work out a way of doing this.
We also discussed the idea of a “Talking Box” – a cardboard box sent home for children to bring 5 special objects or photos back to nursery in. The idea is that the child then opens the box at group time and shares with their group, why the things are special for them. It is a really great way of encouraging confidence and language. Lynn, our Senior Early Years Worker, liked it so much she had it all organised by the end of play on Monday. We will be sending these boxes home with one member of each group, every week. We would love to hear what you think of the idea.
We spent time discussing how we could make it easier for parents to leave comments and feedback for the nursery, both on general issues and particularly on Language and Communication Friendly changes. We thought parents might find commenting easier with the Facebook page. I will also put a “What do you think?” Box in the nursery hall with paper and pens in case people prefer this. If you prefer to send a personal email my address is KCameron@milngavie.e-dunbarton.sch.uk
We really appreciate all the great ideas and suggestions that were brought along to the meeting today. It was a really productive and enjoyable experience. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday 3rd December at 10am in the nursery. Please let us know if you would like to raise anything in particular, and please come along if you can make it. We really value our children’s and parents’ opinions and know that you have amazing ideas which we can adopt to make Milngavie Early Learning Centre a really great place to be.