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NMT Finalist – Product Innovation Award

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Building bridges with parents

Our focus over the last 18 months has been to improve and develop a range of software functions that will support the provider in building REAL partnerships with families. By providing a flexible choice of ways, we give the provider the opportunity to engage the parent appropriately to achieve involvement and improved communication that goes beyond the child having just a ‘good day’ and/or normal ‘care practices’.

Reports from spark have been extended to demonstrate progress and support parents in facilitating learning and development with their child at home in playful non-pressured ways; as they go about normal routines and weekend family activities. Settings can choose to instantly share ‘Learning Stories’, via secure passwords and every parent can now automatically see their child’s next steps, across each area of learning. These come from our unique learning journey that supports the acquisition of the Developmental Matters Statements. Aspirational parents who are already on the providers waiting list can also choose to use our standalone software Imi so the setting starts with an initial assessment to plan from. This independently functioning software is changed to spark@HOME on joining the provider, preserving the data. spark@HOME in turn links with sparkESSSENTIAL and sparkPRO, so parents and provider have instant access to the child’s progress, observations, evidence (from both parties) and the same next steps for optimum learning and developmental progress. Furthermore, parents are invited to regularly feedback straight into spark, as can all providers, carers and involved professionals.

Research shows the importance of parental involvement, but this presents numerous challenges. Parents want the best but are unaware of their own significant role in building their child’s brain during this important time before school, or the impact this has on their child’s future. Time and ‘know how’ are often the main challenges and therefore, as educational providers ourselves, we appreciate the flexible options spark users need to ease parents in. Settings can monitor parental engagement of spark@HOME and therefore we can support and facilitate appropriate prompts according to each needs and scenario.

spark will also help support and train providers with a range of specifically developed resources. These include independent case studies showing the improved outcomes, a range of MP4 presentations to promote partnerships through spark, including user clips. The resource pack also includes a variety of printable handouts for parents as well as staff training tools.

“spark has bridged a gap in the nursery industry, where practitioners, practice, child development and parents can share information about a child’s learning. spark has achieved this from a nursery development perspective; and by enabling the setting to track their own progress, the child’s learning is continually supported.”

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