A Parent Handbook – Communicate with Parents Effectively!

A Parent handbook is used to communicate policies, procedures and any expectations that you have for the families of your childcare service. This can often be the first written communication for parents. Therefore, it is important that you take time with it and ensure attention is paid to these documents.

Feedback from services tells us that time is always the problem when getting around to do this type of task. Services are so busy carrying out the day to day items that things such as creating a parent handbook go on a long to-do list! If you are a service that struggles to find time for paperwork, Canavan Byrne's parent handbook may be the answer for you!

Designed by childcare experts, this publication is designed to assist you develop a tailor-made professional handbook. It is specifically aimed at the parents and guardians who use your service. You decide on the contents that accurately reflect the services you provide and the ethos of your Early Years service.

Your handbook should act as a reference for parents to ensure that they are always aware of policies that are in place. This can be policies around items such as payment, holidays, attendance, illness, hours of operation and much more.  Prior to any child starting in your service, parents should read the handbook and then sign and date a page for your records. This will act as an acknowledgement that parents are clear on the polices and procedures set out for your services.

Parent Handbook Items to Include

Whether you create your own parent handbook or purchase a self-edit one, here are some of the things that should be included;

  • Contact Information - Make sure to include information such as the full name, address and contact number for your service as well as contact details for managers/leaders who can be contacted in case of any specific questions or in an emergency.
  • Fees and Payment - Outline rates of pay and how parents should make payment. Include if it should be weekly, monthly etc. and whether there is a deadline that should be met. Also include what forms of payment you accept and include any fees for late payment.
  • Hours of Operation - Parents will need to know your hours of operation including all holidays that you take over the course of the year. Include your drop off and pick up procedures to your service as well as your attendance policy.
  • Facilities - Include what facilities your service offers. This should include what space you have indoors and outdoors, play areas, sleeping areas, toileting and nappy changing areas, meal preparation and how many rooms (from baby up to preschool/afterschool).
  • Curriculum and Activities - Outline the curriculum that your service is committed to (Aistear, Síolta, Montessori etc.). Many parents will be new to these terms so include a small piece explaining what exactly they mean. Include any extra curricular activities your service offers. This could be activities such as Gymboree or Playball etc.
  • Your Childcare Ethos - The handbook provides a great opportunity to show parents what your childcare ethos is. Parents need to understand what your childcare service offers in order to decide if it is a good fit for their children. This is a good opportunity to outline what your service aims to provide to the children who will attend.

Parent Handbook Options at The Early Years Shop

At the Early Years Shop we have two parent handbook options available. The first handbook is for full day care and sessional services. It is available in two options - one is a self-edit version and the second is an editing service. The self edit version is where the parent handbook is emailed and a small amount of self editing is required.

The editing service is where you have a consultation with a member of the Canavan Byrne team to discuss what you require. Canavan Byrne will then create the handbook and the completed version of your parent handbook will be emailed to you.

The second Parent Handbook is for School Aged Services. This Parent Handbook provides a user-friendly and accessible summary of the policies and will greatly compliment your full policies. This handbook is available on the shop in a self-edit version with the option to include the Child Friendly Policies at a discounted price! For more information on these products click here. Remember all EYRF members receive a discount of 15% off all parent handbooks!

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