Tech and Telecoms

Face to face communication is still crucial to parent partnerships in UK nurseries with apps as first-choice back-up, say research findings from Connect Childcare

In-person chats at drop-off and pick-up remain the most popular and productive way to share information with parents, reveals a recent survey of early years professionals by Connect Childcare.

Findings show that bespoke apps have overtaken emails, phone calls and paper documents as early years settings’ go-to format for back-up communications, to support all-important face to face conversation.

Nursery software specialist Connect Childcare surveyed a total of 107 nursery managers and senior practitioners across the UK to gather insight on the tricky business of family communications, for a free, downloadable resource: A guide for progressive nursery managers.

Key findings include: 

  • 69 respondents (64.5%) said face to face communication was their predominant and most productive way to communicate with parents and carers, while 26 (24.5%) stated that an app served this purpose.

  • Families love to see photos and videos from a child’s day, more than any other form of communication, according to 56.6% of participants (60 people). A total of 67.5% (71) make sure to share these in real time, as they happen.

  • Almost a quarter of nursery owners and managers (24.5%) have problems with verbal miscommunications and nearly a third (30.4%) experience lost paperwork or unread documents at times.

  • A total of 34.9% of survey participants would love parents to share more news of children’s key learnings and experiences at home, and for communication to be more two-way.

Almost 1,300 answers to a dozen survey questions revealed that for a majority of nurseries, nothing can beat face to face conversation — but that this method of communication has some significant downsides.  

24.5% of participants admitted to issues of messages not being passed on, or instances of verbal miscommunication — perhaps due to a lack of time for detailed discussion.

Meanwhile, apps are certainly more commonly used — and rated as more effective — than emails, phone calls and paper documents. 

Photos and video clips, shared safely and securely in real time via an app, were cited as nurseries most-appreciated form of communication by a majority (56%) of respondents — more so than those highly-prized face to face verbal updates, rated parent’s favourite way to share information by 35 people (33%).

While some owners and managers reported instances of families having difficulty accessing electronic communications (15.7%), problems with lost or unread paperwork (30.4%) are twice as prevalent.

Chris Reid, founder and CEO of Connect Childcare, said: “For nursery businesses, nurturing fruitful and productive partnerships with parents is crucial to achieving optimal outcomes for children, as well as commercial success.  

“But maintaining and developing these pivotal relationships can be a tricky, and finely-balanced process. Our new report is packed with fresh ideas and insight from across the sector. We’re delighted to be able to share this knowhow.”

When offering tips for great parent relationships in the report, nursery owners and managers recommend truthfulness and respect all round — taking care to get to know families, value parent input and forge regular, open and honest dialogue.

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