In this guest editorial, Emily Mason shares the work of Maslaha in helping early years settings and reception providers at schools to engage and communicate with non-English speaking and EAL parents, families and children. Their latest video, Getting Ready for Reception, is available in 9 different languages, and posted here.
Maslaha are pleased to share this short-animated film - in English, Urdu, Sylheti, Somali, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Arabic and Punjabi - for parents to help prepare their early years children for starting school.
The film was made as a part of Maslaha’s ‘Schools with Roots’ project, supporting UK primary schools in developing sustainable and anti-racist practice around engaging with their local communities and families. If schools are more connected with their local communities, and teaching is more socially and culturally relevant to pupils, that educational outcomes will improve, and that marginalised communities will have more opportunities to flourish.
The film features 10 simple things that all parents can teach their child to do at home, from wiping and blowing their own nose, to dressing themselves and going to the toilet independently.
Anyone who has tried to persuade a four-year-old to get dressed on their own in the morning knows that this is no easy feat! However, if children are supported by caring adults to enter reception with these skills, then the transition to school is much easier.
This is particularly important given that, as a recent report from the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) has shown, school closures over lockdown will have widened the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers, likely reversing progress made over the last decade.
The EEF report makes it clear that engaging and communicating effectively with parents will be a key part in supporting the children most likely to fall behind, and that this communication will play an important role in outcomes for all ages.
This will be important in helping parents and carers to understand specific ways to help their children, to alleviate worries about their child falling behind, and to provide accessible guidance on small things that may be helpful for their child to focus on learning at home.
Maslaha are working to address this by:
· Offering accessible advice, presented through graphics and simple messaging. Many parents will not speak in English, so sending long home letters will be ineffective and stressful for those who want to understand how they can support their child.
· Translating the film into different languages so families can easily follow along.
· Providing a poster version of the film so that this can be shared with families who don’t have the internet at home, providing a helpful visual aid for children.
This has been a challenging time for all parents and carers and small children, and the pandemic has impacted some communities far worse than others. The disproportionate impact of coronavirus has highlighted longstanding inequalities that communities face in health, housing, education and employment, and shone a light on structural racism in the UK. In this context, how schools communicate with families becomes more important than ever.
Maslaha have developed this film in partnership with Sandringham Primary School in Newham. We at Maslaha hope that it will be useful for lots of families in light of the many challenges that the pandemic has brought for parents and children preparing to start school next year.
Without further ado, here is the film!