ENHANCING QUALITY IN ECEC THROUGH PARTICIPATION

Parents’ council

 General goals of the activity

The council is supposed to be a place for development, where the preschool and parents (by ‘parents’ we mean to a child’s legal guardian) cooperate for higher quality in the preschool.

It will also strengthen the preschool and the parents in their roles. The council will also give the families opportunities to participate and have a say in the daily work in the preschool.

This is specified in the Swedish curriculum for the pre-schools (Lpfö98): Teachers in pre-schools are responsible for ensuring that parents receive opportunities to participate and exercise influence on how the objectives can be achieved through pedagogical planning” - “The working group must take into account the point of views of parents when planning and implementing the activities.”

(Curriculum for the Preschool Lpfö 98 Revised 2010)

 Description of the activity

Through this council the families will get an opportunity to particiapate and influence the preschool’s work.

The Council will meet once or twice every semester. Every preschool section has one teacher who represents the Council. The headteacher of the preschool, teachers and parents are invited to particiapte in the Council. Every parent is invited. It is necessary to assess if someone needs help with the language as it is the preschool’s responsibility to make sure that there is an interpreter at the meeting if needed.

It is the headteacher’s responsibility to prepare an agenda for the meeting together with the teachers.
The parents can contact the headteacher or talk to the teachers if they have anything they want to discuss or if they have any questions before the meeting.

We also prepared a letter-box in the hall for the families. This gives the families the opportunity to add questions, opinions and thoughts by writing them on a note and put it in the letter-box.

In this way they can be anonymous. The invitation will be sent to the parents three weeks before the meeting.
It is the headteacher’s responsibility to prepare the invitation and also present the agenda.

The inviation will also contain the purpose, goals and guidelines for the meeting.

Let the parents sign up if they wish to attend the meeting so you know how to prepare. The headteacher will chair the meeting and her/she will also ensure that everyone gets to participate in the discussions. Make sure to choose a secretary for the meeting.

The Council is a great opportunity for the parents to have a say and to get new information about the work carried out in the preschool.

It´s also a good place to organize timetables for upcoming activities together with the families so that they too can participate in those decisions.

The preschool will offer fruit and coffe during the meeting.

 Remarks

(issues to be aware of when implementing the activity)

This activity requires good organization in the working group. The headteacher needs to have good communication with the teachers who represent the different sections. It is also important to determine time and date long before the actual meeting.

Explain to the parents the importance of their attendance. We have found two situations that can be a reason why parents can´t attend the meeting. One of them is the problem of leaving their children at home alone. Some parents don´t have baby-sitters that can watch their children. A solution to this is that the preschool offers to take care of the children during the meeting.

Another situation is the language barrier, that’s why it´s important to find out who will need an interpreter to provide support during the meeting.

 Role of the teacher

  • Participate in the preparation and planning of the Council together with the preschool headteacher.
  • Be active in the Council.
  • Have a clear purpose with the Council.
  • Have a clear agenda.
  • Explain to parents about their opportunities to influence the preschool through the parent’s council.
  • Make sure there is an interpreter for those who need it.

Role of the family

  • Participate.
  • Take an active part in the preschool’s daily work and exercise influence.
  • Discuss their thoughts and opinions.
  • Get information about upcoming situations that can be of interest to the parents and that can affect the children.

 Added value for the child and the family

  • The parents get the opportunity to participate and have influence, and in that way they are able to influence their children’s everyday life in preschool.
  • The parents have the possibility to make decisions.

Materials to be used

  • Clear agenda.
  • Computer and projector.
  • Paper and pencils for taking notes.
  • Coffee and fruit.

Guiding questions to reflect on the general improvement of the service

  • Did the practice meet the needs from which it originated?
  • In what way did the activity improve the participation of the parents?
  • To what extent did the activity improve our professional development as a team?
  • How did the activity affect the development of the relationship of trust with the parents?

Partners