Among the two most important resources for services to build partnerships with new families are enrolment and orientation. The following article shows guidelines on using Enrolment and Orientation processes to collaborate with families so that children’s well-being and learning have the best chances of thriving.
Once the family has accepted the offer of a position for their child, the enrolment process usually begins with a meeting between the family and the nominated supervisor or another team member from the service. In order to come well prepared for the enrolment meeting, the family may receive, in advance, information like:
- The date and time of the meeting
- Directions to the service, parking and access information
- Invitation to bring their child along
- A list of documents they should bring, e.g. immunisation record, birth certificate, medical plans, support from referral agencies, relevant court orders
- Purpose of the meeting – that is the service would like to get to know them and their child just as they can use the meeting to share their needs and priorities with the service
- Any fees payable at the meeting and how payment is accepted
- If English is not the first language of the family, then the service may have to bring an interpreter to the enrolment meeting.
A service can make the enrolment meeting positive and purposeful by:
- Using a warm friendly approach to welcome the family. Using their first names, offering a beverage and gently enquiring about their well-being before beginning formal discussions are all small gestures that can go a long way in putting families at ease.
- Avoid interruptions where possible; ensure there are experiences for children to engage in while you are speaking with the family.
- Inviting the parents to discuss their family structure, lifestyle, child-rearing practices, beliefs and values and how they expect the service to help their child.
- Sharing the service’s philosophy, policy and procedures with the family. Also, let them know how feedback is valued and the systems in place for collaborating with educators when making decisions for their children.
- Discussing the family, activities and experiences for children and how these align with the Approved Learning Frameworks.
- Telling families about the orientation visits and how they will help their child ease into the service setting.
- Providing an opportunity for the family to ask questions and seek clarification.
Orientation visits refer to the time families spend at the service a few times before leaving the child. This helps the child ease into the service setting. However, some parents/carers may not have the time for a full orientation process and so services need to adopt a flexible approach. To support parents through the orientation process, educators can:
- Reassure the family that they may stay with their child for as long as they choose during orientation
- Suggest goodbye routines or other strategies (like the family moving to another room for a short while or leaving children for progressively longer periods at the service) to help the child cope with separation.
- Encourage families to call and speak to the child’s educator(s) at any time during the day.
Even after the orientation process comes to an end, educators can support families by maintaining open and consistent communication. Thoughtful gestures like tucking in a welcoming note to the family in the child’s bag or sending a parent a photo of their child exploring new interests in the classroom can go a long way in making families feel reassured about the well-being of their child at the service.
Policy Development In Early Childhood Settings - Policies are an important part of an early childhood setting. They are a legal requirement that identifies and minimises risks of various tasks and responsibilities demonstrated by Educators and provide information for families on how situations are handled. The following article provides information on policy development.
Regulations On Policies and Procedures In Early Childhood - Policy and Procedures are an integral part of the documentation that is required to meet legislative requirements. They prevent uncertainty about how particular situations are handled and support staff to understand their roles and responsibilities.
Enrolment and Orientation, Sagepub