Information for Families
Parents and extended family members are always welcome in Umbrella Centres!
There are several ways parents can participate in their child’s program:
Umbrella considers parents/guardians to be important and equal members of the child care team. They are regularly informed about their child’s participation/progress in the program and participate in decisions affecting the child’s early learning and child care.
Parents are welcome to participate in the daily program, or to visit their children in the centre, at any time. If parents have a special interest or hobby, we encourage them to share their expertise with the children in the program!
Donating ‘previously enjoyed’ items to the centre
Occasionally, staff members will post a note on the parent board indicating an item (…or 2 or 3!) that parents might be able to donate (i.e. craft supplies, beautiful ‘junk’, games, clothes for dramatic play, spare clothes to be used in case of ‘accidents’ at the centre, etc.). Contributions are most welcome!
Neighbourhood Nights, held twice per year, provide all stakeholders – children, parents, centre and school staff members and community partners – with an opportunity to discuss the children’s program, identify strengths of the services we provide and determine ways in which our service can be adapted to better meet the needs of the families we serve!
Annual surveys of parents and older children are conducted in each program. Please participate! Completing the survey only takes a few minutes and provides valuable information for planning and improving our programs.
Communication is vital to the success of our organization!
It is important that children and parents feel comfortable sharing information with Umbrella staff members. Here are some suggestions for building healthy relationships with one another:
- Take the time to greet each other every day! (This only takes a few seconds, and provides the opportunity to update one another upon arrival.)
- Ensure that each other are kept up-to-date regarding your child’s development and participation in the program. When a child’s life changes in some way (i.e. new sibling, change of address, new staff member in the classroom, etc.), he/she often exhibit different behaviour. Informing one another of the changes that are taking place in the child’s life often helps us to better understand the reasons for the way in which a child behaves.
- Ask questions! We all learn a great deal about the children in the program from discussions with one another, which can occur at the beginning or end of the day. If the family schedule is exceptionally busy – or if the issues to be discussed are rather sensitive in nature – it may be preferable to determine an alternate method of communication, such as the following:
Telephone ‘conferences’ are a great way to share information. Simply leave a message on the child care answering machine regarding the issue you wish to speak about…and the best time for a staff member to return your call.
Meetings with child care staff members and/or the Supervisor can be arranged at the parents’ convenience. Gathering a small group of people together to discuss a common issue can be more effective than speaking on the phone to one person.
Communication Booklets make it possible for parents and teachers to share more detailed information about the child’s home and ‘school’ life. While this method is more time-consuming, it can be a very effective way to keep each other up-to-date.
If you are uncertain about an aspect of the program, or have a concern about the care of your child, please ask a staff member for clarification. If your child’s teacher is not able to provide you with the information you need, or you are not satisfied with the response you have been given, please pursue your matter with the Supervisor of the program. Most often, issues are resolved at the centre level; however, sometimes additional support is required. If this is the case, concerns can also be brought to the attention of the Program Manager for discussion and resolution.