Effective Communication Tools to Build Strong Educator/Family Relationships
The joint efforts of families and educators results in effective learning and growth outcomes for the child. It takes an effective partnership, between families and early childhood educators (ECEs), to ensure we meet a broad spectrum of that child’s learning needs. It requires families, searching for Olney child care options for their child, to communicate the needs of their child to Center staff. And it requires educators to understand those needs, and communicate how the Center can help.
The Importance of Effective Communication
During their formative years, a lot of a child’s learning and growth happens in settings such as pre-schooling environments. Through a wide-ranging set of integrated activities, which includes Social-Emotional, Physical, Language, Cognitive, Literacy, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Social Studies, the Arts and English Language Acquisition, Olney day care staff deliver a well-rounded foundation to children in their care. It is the foundation that children then use as a ladder for later success.
To deliver that success, however, requires efforts from Center staff as well as parents or home-care members. Because a child can’t properly articulate his/her needs, it takes constant and open, two-way communication channels between everyone responsible for that child’s success. And these include casual conversations when parents drop off their kids; quick greetings when passing children and parents in hallways; as well as formal family meetings between staff and parents/guardians.
Tools and Tips for Effective Communication
Establishing trusting relationships with parents and guardians is vital for the child’s wellbeing. Miscues, curt tones, dismissive attitudes, or indifferent body language, during a communication “event”, can send a wrong signal to a parent. It can also build lasting impressions, about the center and its staff.
Here are some tools that Olney child care staff use during communication opportunities:
- Making families feel comfortable – Greeting them with a smile and a friendly gesture
- Listening to them carefully and respectfully – Never interrupting
- Assuring them their feedback is taken seriously
- Asking for their thoughts on how to jointly resolve a concern
- Asking, and understanding, how they prefer communicating about their child’s progress – daily notes, emails, face-to-face sessions, phone conversations.
One of the most effective communication tools is displaying cultural sensitivity when communicating. Some cultures prefer different forms of greetings, while others are sensitive about physical contact – handshakes, friendly pats on the back, gentle taps on the shoulder. While some cultures welcome direct eye contact, others see not making such contact as a sign of deep respect.
The Benefits of Strong Relationships
Using good communication as a cornerstone, Olney daycare center staff are able to build and maintain strong relationships with other stakeholders in the child’s learning and growth. This includes parents, guardians, and other family members, who feel more comfortable and confident sharing their thoughts and ideas about various aspects of child care at the center.
To ensure stronger bonds with families, it’s vital that communication is ongoing – not just milestone-based or limited to only scheduled events. One way to do that effectively is to dedicate an area of the website that contains Family Resources. These resources serve as a great tool, not just for families to provide important information of their child and their own needs, but also for the Center to offer insights into resources available to meet those needs.