Cooperation and excellent communication with a child's parents are part of successful early childhood education. We asked Tiina and Satu Ullgren about the parents' engagement and the role of interaction in the kindergarten Lilliputti in Oulu. - In this job, the on-line tool in communication is everything, says Tiina Ullgren.
In your opinion, how important is cooperation between parents and kindergarten?
Cooperation with parents is paramount in this work, especially from the perspective of a private kindergarten. We want to get to know children and their families more closely.
For families, however, the kindergarten is also an essential channel for opening up and solving the everyday challenges in a family with children. Sometimes families need support for the fundamental things like a child's dressing, sleeping, and eating. Many families do not have their support network, and then the kindergarten, in particular, plays a vital role in supporting families' in their daily lives. Interaction and communication are, therefore, a significant part of the cooperation between parents and the kindergarten.
When we launched TinyApp, one of our goals was to open the daycare for parents. Parents don't know what's going on here. A picture says more than words. It's hard for me to imagine my work without TinyApp, says Tiina.
How does TinyApp support you in interaction and communication?
TinyApp is one tool in this work, especially in cooperation between families and kindergarten. Photos work well, particularly for children who need support in concentration and individual attention. TinyApp also performs well in documenting children's play. With TinyApp, you can fulfill early childhood education plan obligations and make activities visible.
What has changed compared to the old way of doing things?
TinyApp has replaced diaries and also the photo folders that were compiled right at the end of the kindergarten time when the child left for school. The problem with the journal was that it was not with the children every day. Again, it took time for us to put together the pictures after an event to the kindergarten wall for parents to review. It took a lot of work time. - In my opinion, photos have a different meaning when you get them in a snap, and you don't have to wait for a once-a-year compilation as we did before, says Tiina.
What kind of feedback have you received from parents about using TinyApp?
Parents praise the kindergarten for being able to photograph the kindergarten life and share photos. Particularly at the beginning of the relationship, trust in the kindergarten is built mainly through sending images of the day of the young child from the kindergarten.
Parents especially appreciate the mobile app, which only comes with kindergarten messages. Generally, parents want as little email as they feel that everything else is being flooded in the email, and kindergarten messages are drowned there. Parents also find that email takes more time than the mobile app.
Parents have said that often children come home excited and ask, for example, if you already got a picture of a jigsaw puzzle. At home, parents and children can then take a look at the day's activities, learning, and development together.
Kindergarten Lilliputti in Oulu.