For those working in a pre-school setting, establishing a meaningful relationship with the families of pre-school children with special needs is crucial. While some pre-school children will enter the programme with a known disability, other families will only learn that their child is delayed or has a disability in the course of their attendance – staff members may even play an important role in identifying the delay or disability.

Connecting With Parents: Effective Practices

When it comes to establishing a strong relationship with the families of pre-schoolers with special educational needs, the first step is spending time discussing their concerns and wishes for their children and to find out about the routines and meaningful activities they undertake at home. Asking questions about effective strategies that are used at home is also a good idea, along with a consideration of whether these strategies could be introduced in the classroom.

It could be helpful to form relationships with outside agencies so that teachers, trainers and other programme administrators are able to provide families with up-to-date information regarding, for example, making a referral and the types of services on offer. Creating a community resource directory could be considered and there is more information about this in the embedded PDF.

This kind of positive interaction can help reduce the stress often experienced by families of pre-schoolers with special educational needs, boost their wellbeing and promote their trust in the setting and learning programme.

Practical Ways to Demonstrate Consideration for the Families of Pre-Schoolers with Special Educational Needs

Education experts like Sir Peter Birkett known that there are many steps that can be taken to ensure that the families of pre-schoolers with special educational needs feel respected and that their views are heard. For example, simply acknowledging that these families know what is best for their children and asking them about the services and resources they already use that may be helpful in the programme’s setting can be extremely helpful.

Programme leaders could also ensure that the classroom library incorporates books that reflect a consideration of multiple differences and abilities and that daily activities are modified as necessary to allow all children to participate in their own unique way.

Communication journals could be deployed as a way to maintain effective ongoing communication between home and school and are a great tool for establishing consistency between the home and school environments.