Parent Champions for Childcare are parents who have positive experience of using childcare and/or supporting their child's early learning, who act as advocates and peer advisers to other parents in their community.
Daycare Trust has developed this model to reach parents who are missing out on information about childcare and early learning services because they do not know where to find information and are not engaged with local services or networks.
In 2007 DCSF funded Daycare Trust to manage three pilot Parent Champions projects in London to increase awareness of formal childcare. Following the success of the trial projects Daycare Trust was funded by the DCSF to develop a toolkit for local authorities to set up their own Parent Champions schemes.
Daycare Trust have now received funding from the Department for Education to further develop the Parent Champions for Childcare model with the delivery of six pathfinder schemes and the development of a National Network of Parent Champions schemes across England.
The role of a Parent Champion for Childcare is to engage with parents in their community to offer information and initial support to parents. This involves using different outreach techniques to engage parents, which may include drop-in information sessions, informal workshops in community locations and contact-building at children's activities such as library reading programmes.
Parent Champions for Childcare can:
- Help parents to understand the benefits of quality childcare and early learning for their children.
- Encourage parents to participate in early learning activities with their children.
- Help parents to find out about and take up formal childcare places for their children.
- Encourage parents to participate in local childcare and early learning services e.g. by volunteering to help out at play sessions, becoming a parent representative on their children's centre advisory board.