8 Event Ideas
To Get Parents Involved In Your Nursery
A little help planning your next big event.

Why do you need to have engaged parents?

It’s something we see again and again. It even plays a crucial role in the Ofsted inspection. But why does it really matter?

The number one reason? It’s good for the children. Parental involvement in your nursery helps them to be closer to their children, and take home advice and understanding which they can use to continue the good work you do every day.

And that’s not all. Parental engagement is the surest way to get good feedback on the running of your nursery. Honest and open communication is what leads you to be better.

What’s more, happy parents who are kept up to date, understand the work you do and see the difference you make are essential. As a business, it is happy parents that make or break your reputation, and are the quickest route to more referrals, improved occupancy, and increased revenue.

That’s why we’ve run down a list of eight event ideas for your nursery, to keep parents on your team and make a real difference to the little ones you care for.

Parent Presentations

To start with, consider running a presentation (or series of presentations) all about childcare and suggestions for ways parents can join in with their children’s learning at home. You could run some EYFS focused discussions, or even open up to different philosophies or the importance of play.

Why?
Helping parents to understand what you’re doing at the setting is the key to making sure that good progress carries on at home. You get the chance to display your knowledge and understanding, and you get the benefit of an improvement to your reputation as an expert. Studies show time and again that better parent involvement has a significant impact on children in both the short and long term.

Will work if…
You’ve got knowledgeable practitioners and managers willing and confident to share what they know. Parents who are keen to learn more and aid their kid’s development whenever possible.

Why not try…
A more informal setting. A drinks evening or a breakfast talk might make people more excited than the idea of sitting in a hall listening to a monologue for half an hour.

Stay & Play

The classic. Invite parents to hang around after drop off and get involved with what you’re doing on a day to day basis.

Why?
Here, you get to show off your setting at its very best – a welcoming environment with fun activities and happy, engaged children. You’re giving parents the tools and understanding to take home with them too. In fact, we’ve seen that stay and play sessions have a clear correlation with improved confidence and attachment between parents and child.

Will work if…
You have planned out activities or a theme especially, and go do what you do best. And maybe quickly throw the hoover around first.

Why not try…
Inviting some prospective parents with their children to come and join in, and use the opportunity to impress parents old and new.

A Leaving Picnic

Celebrate the move up to big school with a big party. Invite family members and prepare a few bits and pieces to take home so that you can celebrate each child’s move up along with all their achievements.

Why?
For starters, it’s a great way to reflect and take stock of all the children’s achievements – and yours too. It’s a proud day for everyone. What’s more, finishing on such a high, with some chances to make memories and take things home, is crucial for your reputation in the local community. Making your last contact with parents a good one is absolutely crucial – they’re the ones who’ll be telling their friends about you for years to come.

Will work if…
You put a little time into the organisation, prepare some special things to take home like complete learning journals, and manage to get a nice summery day (or a good umbrella).

Why not try…
Putting on a little performance, or showing off the children’s work. Anything to create those happy memories and show how far they’ve come.

Parent Evenings

You can’t overvalue the importance of a parent’s evening. It’s the best chance you have to sit down and speak candidly and honestly with parents.

Why?
It’s simple really. Parents want to be updated on how their little one is doing. How are they coming on? Are they playing well with others? What are they enjoying and not enjoying? You can sit down with their learning journals and show them everything they’ve achieved and all the good work you’ve accomplished with them.

Will work if…
You’re prepared. Preparation, preparation, preparation. Make sure the room is set up for easy, private conversations, and you’ve got all the learning journals looking tip-top. Stay positive, and keep any negatives about how to improve and sandwiched with the good stuff!

Why not try…
Getting feedback. Instead of starting off with a ten minute speech, ask them how their child is doing at home, and get feedback that you can use in the classroom. Getting feedback on how you’re meeting their needs as a nursery is important too.

Coffee Mornings

A little lighter than a parent talk, a coffee morning is a chance to get together with parents and paint some broad strokes about the nursery and what nursery learning means in early years.

Why?
The informal setting is encouraging for time strapped parents, able to pop in and invest some time in learning about the setting and what you do at a convenient time. It’s all about giving context to why you do things here, especially around the play and activities that parents might not understand the deeper meaning to.

Will work if…
You bring cakes. Everyone loves cakes.

Why not try…
Get parents to get stuck in and try a messy activity, or do a drawing of themselves. Just like children, adults understand best by doing, and you can run them through what their kids would be learning if they were doing this activity. Plus the children will love to see a photo of “Mummy, aged 34” up on their classroom wall.

Fundraisers

Here’s where you give back to others, and hopefully create a buzz in the local community while you’re at it.

Why?
Whether it’s for a local cause close to your heart, or national initiatives like Red Nose Day and Children in Need, this is where you can foster a sense of community at your school and bring people together for something more important. Parents are far more likely to get involved in these type of events, and you might even benefit from some positive press in the local area.

Will work if…
You get behind a cause that really matters to you and have some time for a little creativity…

Why not try…
Organising a parent committee. Many nurseries will have these and if you don’t, it’s a great way to get one set up in the first place. Once set up, these committees are one of your key links to all parents and understanding how the nursery is doing in their eyes.

Breakfasts of Champions

Whether it’s mothers day, fathers day, Easter or Christmas, running a small breakfast event around a special day always goes down a treat.

Why?

With a little planning, you’ll be able to get the kids to prepare some things to take home and send the parents off with a smile on their faces. Getting parents together like this is also important, to help the sense of parent to parent collaboration and the community around your setting.

Will work if…

You give a little thought to the theme and some prep so that the parents or carers have something ready to take home

Why not try…

Preparing some activities for the parents and kids to make together.

Big Summer Party!

This is the big one. Food and drinks. A perfect summer’s day. And loads of fun.

Why?
A bigger event like this can become a staple of your nursery, and something that parents can get excited about every year. This makes it a perfect promotional opportunity, with family and friends coming, and just adds to the cooperation and collaboration between you and the parents. Happy kids mean happy parents and a day of fun activities is a must.

Will work if…

You really take the time to plan it out and get parents on board to make it a success. Oh, and lots of praying for the skies to stay sunny.

Why not try…
Hiring an entertainer or two so that you get a spare five minutes to go and chat with the parents, answer questions, and catch them up on what you’ve been up to.

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