09 Mar 2023

Childhood Series: The Impact of Social Distancing on Partnership with Parents


There is a large body of literature establishing partnership with parents in early years care and education as an essential element of quality provision. Children thrive within supportive and responsive relationships and their development is threatened when instability in their lives leads to stress, the persistency of which can lead to toxic stress. Strong partnerships between parents and ECEC practitioners can alleviate stress experienced by children.

The creation of strong relationships between the early years setting and the home allows practitioners to identify the needs of children and their families and create an environment where all feel welcome. Though there are challenges to effective partnership and communication, such as time and space, parents place high value on the structural spaces provided for them and their ability to enter the early years building with their child on a daily basis. Parents also appreciate the time given to informal chats with their children’s key workers. These practices are the very ones that have been disrupted due to the implementation of social distancing measures required to limit person to person contact and reduce the spread of infection. To what extent has partnership with parents in early years settings suffered due to social distancing and how can we repair the damage?

About the Presenter

Tracy has worked in the early years sector since 2005, the last 12 years as manager of a sessional preschool catering for up to 60 children. During that time she studied for her undergraduate degree and went on to study for an MA in Childhood and Adolescent Studies with ICHAS. Her areas of interest are Partnership with Parents in the early years, Communities of Practice, and Reflexive Practice.

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