Information sharing is a two-way street

10th May 2018

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By Hayley Smith

I am sure that any individuals who work with children will have heard the phrase ‘information sharing’ more than once! The importance and value of such ‘information sharing’ will have been expressed to you in relation to the information which you are required to share with other key individuals such as parents/carers or other professionals involved with the child.

But do those people share important information with you about the children in your care?

When a new child comes into your setting, or if there is a change of circumstances in a child’s life away from nursery, are you given appropriate details?

There is undeniable evidence to support the benefits of collaborative working where it promotes continuity and consistency for the child. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum places emphasis on ‘positive relationships’ and partnership with parents. Whilst settings strive to achieve this, many parents are very busy people who are satisfied that their child’s needs are being met by a nursery or a childminder during the hours which they attend there and their home life is entirely separate. Many practitioners may be able to share an informal verbal handover at the end of the day but this is often all that there is time for. For some children this may not be enough, especially those children or families who require any form of additional support.

Where children are in receipt of any additional support there can often be other professionals involved in working with them to meet their needs. The addition of other professionals into the life of a young child can often be a complex yet beneficial process. Those professionals can offer specialist advice and support both to the child directly, and also to other individuals who work closely with the child in order to enable them to support the child in the most appropriate and effective way. Practitioners can follow the specialist guidance of professionals where it is offered to them, however a lack of information from such specialists will make that much more difficult.

When information is received and processed by an individual it becomes knowledge which can then empower those individuals. Early years practitioners can often spend a large amount of time with the young children in their care. In order to provide the best possible support and outcomes for those children, practitioners need to gather as much information as possible about each child. This can be done much more easily when all individuals are forthcoming with the information which they have and are proactive in sharing it appropriately with others.

Whilst we must remain mindful of the importance of confidentiality in sharing information only with those whom it is necessary to do so, we must also ensure that we are all proactive in doing such sharing. It is the responsibility of all of us who are involved in the lives of young children; either as parents, practitioners or other professionals, to be aware of all other individuals involved with each child and work collaboratively with them in the best interests of the child.

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