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Parental cooperation in kindergartens

Kindergartens are obliged to ensure, but also greatly benefit from, cooperation with the parents. Such cooperation takes place at both the individual and group level.

Father and daughter smiling and taking a selfie. Photo: iStock. Cooperation with the parents of each individual child involves an exchange of observations and evaluations regarding the child's health, well-being, experiences, development and learning. Both parties may benefit from exchange of such information. Photo: iStock.

The following is stated in the Framework Plan for Kindergartens (2017):

"The Kindergarten shall work in partnership and agreement with the home to meet the children’s need for care and play and promote learning and formative development as a basis for all-round development, cf. the Kindergarten Act, Section 1."

This quote highlights the essential cooperation between the home and kindergarten, where the parties together shall contribute to the well-being and development of the child, and where the objective always will be what is in the best interest of the child.

The kindergarten is responsible for facilitating parental cooperation through safeguarding the parents' right of involvement and establishing a basis for a good dialogue. In this context, it is important for the kindergarten to acknowledge that all parents are an important resource and address the parents in such a manner that they feel seen, heard and included. In addition, it is also essential that the structural circumstances facilitate real cooperation, for example that there are places and time for talking together over the course of the day and that there is room for talks face to face whenever required.

Parents and the personnel generally interact with the children in different arenas and observe the children in separate contexts. Cooperation with the parents of each individual child involves an exchange of observations and evaluations regarding the child's health, well-being, experiences, development and learning. Both parties may benefit from exchange of such information. Together, they may contribute to a more unified and balanced experience as a basis for good interaction with the children.

The informal and daily talks when the children are dropped off/picked up, may assure the parents that the personnel see and take good care of their children and constitute an important basis for parental cooperation. It is important that these informal talks, which take place when other children and parents are in the vicinity, are angled positively and address the children's experiences and sense of mastery.

Well-established and good relationships between the parents and the personnel will make it easier for both parties to address any concerns and challenges. Talks addressing challenges must be handled face to face and provide a sense of professional follow-up. It is the responsibility of the kindergarten to handle the challenges at the kindergarten, and the personnel must provide reasons for and explain how they will proceed in order to attain common goals and objectives.

Parental cooperation at the group level is also required in addition to the cooperation at the individual level. Parent-personnel meetings is an arena for addressing general topics, informing parents about pedagogical and psychosocial work at the kindergarten and facilitating reflection and talk among the parents, for example through group assignments. The parents' councils and the coordinating committees are cooperative
mandatory bodies where the intention is to safeguard the common interests of the parental group and ensure active involvement in the pedagogical activities and operation of the kindergarten.

Text: Randi M. Sølvik