A great deal of research - from quantitative DCSF-commissioned surveys to Daycare Trust's own current qualitative study entitled ‘Listening to Parents' - shows that parents use other parents as a key source of information about culturally appropriate and quality childcare, as well as types of benefits and services available.
In 2007, Daycare Trust began developing the role of Parent Champions; parents who have positive experience of using childcare and/or supporting their child’s early learning who act as advocates and peer advisers in their community to other parents.
This innovative project is developing the Parent Champion model as an invaluable resource to provide information and support to parents who have not previously used childcare.
This project began with the delivery of three pilot schemes in London, which were then evaluated, in a second phase, and informed the development of a toolkit for local authorities. We are now working on the third phase of this project, which started with the co-ordination of six pathfinder schemes across England, funded by the Department for Education, and has now moved on to the development of a National Network of Parent Champion schemes across the country.
Find out more about our Parent Champions work, including evaluation reports for the prototype and pathfinder projects, the Social Return on Investment assessment and details about how you could become involved in this work. You can also view our Parent Champion film.
Volunteering in early years and childcare
Involving parents and volunteers from the wider community within a childcare setting can have huge benefits for the parents and volunteers involved, for the setting and for the children. Volunteers can bring in new skills, widen the range of activities on offer, provide expertise in business development, fundraising or marketing and can enhance the links that you have with your parents and the wider community.
This project, funded by the Department for Education, seeks to promote volunteering in the early years and childcare by providing resources for childcare settings and local authorities, and piloting volunteer models.
Find out about some of the prototype projects we are working on.
Find information and resources to help you involve parents and volunteers in your setting
Read our report, 'Better serving our children: An action plan for increasing volunteering in the early years and childcare sector'.
KIDS- Making it Personal
In June 2011, The National Association of Family Information Services (NAFIS) merged with Daycare Trust and we are now working together to support families through local Family Information Services (FIS). As part of this merger, we are working with KIDS, and a consortium of partners, to provide advice and information to parents and carers of disabled children and young people, as well as commissioners, around personal budgets.
KIDS, In-Control, and the Office of Public Management will be producing a range of resources including a parent handbook, e-learning and web resources for parents and commissioners of services which will be available at the end of 2012.
NAFIS and RADAR will be disseminating these resources to parents and carers via Family Information Services and other networks. Some of these resources will also be available on this area of the website. Throughout the course of the project we wil be adding case studies of good practice in Family Information Services as well as testimonials from parents and young people who have used personal budgets.
Find more information about the KIDS- Making it Personal project.
Daycare Trust working with the Grandparents' Association
Daycare Trust is working with the Grandparents' Association to support grandparents who provide informal care for their grandchildren. Recent research by Daycare Trust shows that 36 per cent of families get help with childcare from grandparents. This amounts to 4 million grandparent carers in the UK providing almost 10 hours of childcare each week.
Over the next two years we will be contributing to articles for grandparents on www.grandparents-association.org.uk covering topics such as home learning; communicating with your grandchildren's nursery or pre-school; providing quality childcare at home and understanding the early years foundation stage.
We are also planning a series of workshops on supporting and reaching out to grandparents who provide childcare for their grandchildren. The events will be open to grandparents, family support workers, FIS and children's centre outreach workers to understand the needs of childcaring grandparents and share good practice.
Further information will be added as the project progresses and details of future workshops will be given here.
For more information on this project visit www.grandparents-association.org.uk.
Further information about previous projects we have worked on including the London Childcare Network.