“For some children lockdown has been an opportunity to flourish. All that quality unstructured time spent with parents and siblings has been precious, if at times challenging. But in the case of too many other children it’s been a very different story.

With no grandparents, nannies or nurseries to keep their children entertained and stimulated, working from home parents have had little choice but resorting to iPad or TV screen as digital childminder for up to eight hours a day. Cooped up and without the interaction they’d normally get at nursery, primary school or toddler group, under-fives have just not been engaging or speaking enough – and in some cases this has left them unable to string a sentence together. 

Shermeena Rabbi, Consultant Speech & Language Therapist says: “Usually children’s vocabulary develops naturally from playing with other children. They learn from interactions at soft play, nursery and toddler classes. Not having these opportunities has left many nursery-aged children with delayed verbal skills”. Citing the parents of a two year old who was barely speaking or engaging with them, “unfortunately their reliance on technology as a pacifier has had negative effects”.”

Through a parent link app, parents are able to access information about their child’s day at a suitable and convenient time for them. Using the First Steps platform, we are able to increase our partnership with parents by allowing two-way communication between our parents/carers and St. George’s Nursery, including their child’s key worker.

Ideally every day at pick up time, every parent and key worker would talk and discuss in depth their child’s growth and development, but as you know this is not always possible – especially now since parents are no longer permitted to enter the building due to Covid safety regulations. We want to ensure that parents are still updated so that they don’t miss a moment of their child’s progress and wow moments!

This is why we use a Parent Link app, which allows parents to remain informed with events at the nursery throughout the day. Parents are able to log in to the app and observe their child’s activities at a time that suits them. Furthermore, parents are encouraged to add to their child’s learning journey and contribute notes and observations for their key worker to read. This in turn helps the key worker to create a more bespoke learning plan for each child and also improves and strengthens their relationship and bond with the parent. Even parents who are unable to collect their children themselves, they can continue to maintain good communication with their child’s setting.

From engaging with you in your child’s learning journal, to viewing daily activity, meals, nappy change and bottle change and sleep notes, we want to ensure that parents have strong connections to their settings and involve themselves in each stage of their child’s learning.

For more information on how to access the app, please see the link below:

https://firststeps.software/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/FirstSteps-Parent-Link-for-Parents.pdf