In my experience, any scheme or incentive that promotes and informs parenting skills is hugely important to children’s outcomes in the Early Years. Not all of us have the luck and the benefit of learning or acquiring good parenting skills from our own parents/grandparents/carers. Even if we have good parenting role models, it doesn’t automatically follow that we will be good parents.
I spent many years working in the ‘Looked after children’ sector, teaching young people who were from children’s homes or in dysfunctional families and under the care of Social Workers. These children were so very disaffected, their behaviour was extremely challenging and had become a barrier to their academic learning and social/emotional development. I also worked in a ‘Behaviour Unit’ of a local secondary school for a few years where again young people’s behaviour and poor social skills became not only a barrier to their learning, but also a consistent interruption of other pupil’s learning around them. I understand that not all of this is down to poor parenting skills, but in my career I have seen first-hand that it really does play a major part. I have long believed that some parents need to be helped when their children are very young. In those developmentally vital early years, they need to be given tools to best impact their parenting and give their children the very best start in life.
Happily, a new training programme, ‘How to bring out the best in your child’ aiming to help parents better understand the needs of 3 to 7- year-olds launches next month. Nursery World (22/02/17) reported that Professor Pat Preedy and Rosie Hamilton-McGinty have developed a series of workshops for schools and parents which is flexible and can be delivered in a day, or over several weeks.
The main focus of these workshops is to help parents develop strong relationships with their children. The sessions cover issues such as character building, behaviour and manners, discipline and building strong relationships. Prof Preedy was quoted as saying ‘The workshops will support parents to enable them to enjoy their children, and the children will be able to develop and be ready for school.” The course has been endorsed by CACHE (Council for Awards in Health and Education). It was piloted at The Revel Church of England Primary School, Warwickshire and Pattison College in Coventry. Positive feedback from parents has inspired the two to expand their programme nationwide.
Any effective scheme that identifies and meets the needs of parental engagement to maximise positive outcomes for children should be utilised as necessary.
Alongside this launch, Hamilton-McGinty and Professor Preedy plan to provide an online course both for schools and parents. There is also an e-book, titled How to Bring Out the Best in Your Child.