As a parent who has put their own child through nursery, and as a childcare practitioner for over 15 years, I know all too well the feeling of apprehension when you leave your child at nursery for the first time. It can be one of the most difficult things to do, and it pulled hard on my heartstrings, but at some point in your child's upbringing, you are most likely going to need some sort of childcare provision, for you and, arguably, for your child's development.
Of course, as a parent, you still want to be as close to your child as possible while they're at nursery, at least until you and your child are used to the idea. That may seem an impossible feat, however, there are ways around this. We've been working hard at nursery to improve this process for the parents we work with. We've always done our upmost to not only reassure parents that their child is in good hands, but to ensure that they can be with their child every step of the way as they progress through nursery and continue their learning journey.
Children make some of their biggest leaps in development between the ages of 0 and 5 years - they establish foundations for physical, mental and social discovery and learning. Here at Busy Bees, we believe that no parent should miss out on their child's 'wow moments'. We wanted to provide live memories for our parents; the problem was how to deliver this and more.
Making use of technology
Well, thanks to recent developments in technology, a number of nurseries have already, or are currently embarking upon, integrating a digital communication tool which enables parents to become more involved in their child's learning journey.
There are certain apps available on the market which allow a greater and easier two-way flow of communication between parents and nursery staff. This cutting edge technology replaces the traditional paper-based method of recording each child's daily experiences. Quite simply, at a touch of a button or two, parents can see a timeline of activities by securely logging in and viewing photos, videos and observations made by each child's key person, which also includes information about mealtimes, sleep times and nappy changes.
What makes such technology unique is that parents can be involved in current time with their own child's assessment, add comments and other important information that they would like nursery to know. Not only this, but the technology is completely secure and to give parents extra peace of mind, any access outside of normal working hours needs to be authorised by a designated safeguarding officer with a two-step verification process. All published information is approved by the nursery manager in the first instance, and all information sent via an app is encrypted and travels through a separate secure server. This means that the technology is completely secure.
Never miss a 'wow' moment
Choosing a nursery for your child can be a difficult decision so when visiting new nurseries, ask particular questions around how staff keep parents informed of their child's learning and development. This should include which technologies are specifically being utilised to show a learning journey or, if it is the more traditional paper-based system, how and when will this be delivered and communicated to parents. Just because your child is in the care of the practitioner for part or some of the day doesn't mean you aren't able to still experience those 'wow moments' with your child.
Lisa Snell is an Early Years Director at Busy Bees Childcare, parent and childcare practitioner