The Do's And Don't of Parent Message Boards at a Child Care Facility

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Parent message boards are a vital part of communication for any day care center or child care service.  Here are some tips for maximizing your day care parent message board:

1. Purchase and paint wooden craft letters, or foam craft  pieces, spelling out  “Parent Board” and whatever other header you want to include.  These look much better than the cut-out letter paper stencils, and should never fade.

2. Try fabric as a background.
(Use a hot glue gun vs. staples for a more seamless, professional look.)   Painting
the background and frame is also a low maintenance alternative.

3. Try children’s wrapping paper for a
 different, fun background.  Keep to one “theme” per board, and a utilize a coordinating color scheme, so the focus isn’t diverted from important information.

4. Think 3-D.  If your Parent Board is in
primary colors, hot glue crayons or Legos in primary colors in the corners.  If your board theme is puzzle pieces, paint some old puzzle pieces and glue them on around the edges.  For ideas, look in the decorative button section of the fabric store,  in the wooden craft cut- outs area, or  in the Scrapbooking section at a Craft/Hobby store.
Experiment with the fun confetti shapes, or sponge paint some shaped sponge prints.

5. If you use push-pins, use all the same
color.  For safety purposes, always use the same number of pins on each item, so that you are aware if one has fallen off.

6.    Include pictures of the children participating in activities.

 7.  Frame any official or important
 documents or certificates within a picture frame.  Give your state license the respect it deserves – don’t tack it up with a push-pin!  Make sure frames have background matting if necessary, so that cardboard isn’t showing.

8.  “Frame” other information and notices with a backdrop of contrasting color of paper behind it,  coordinating it with the overall board.  Try “framing” things with the background piece of paper going at an angle – like a diamond shape.   Use clear “ sleeves” on notices that need to stay posted for an extended period of time, to keep them looking nice.

9.  For the “backdrop” of your menu, be creative!  Hot glue a placemat onto the bulletin board, placing the current menu in the center.  Add a napkin and plastic eating utensils to look like a place setting.  Or “frame” your menu with a real menu from a restaurant, a chefs’ hat, or a cutting board.

10.  Try outlining your bulletin board with
a coordinating patterned ribbon.  Again, it doesn’t have to be flat – it can be made 3-D by
looping or twisting it.  See how a bow looks in a top corner.  (Cut your letters out of the ribbon to match.)   Try  an outline with a swag of plastic foliage or flowers!

    
What Typically
is Included on a Parent Board:

? Child care workers Biographies
? Menu
? Day care Lesson Plan(s)
? Emergency Procedures
? Allergies
? Upcoming Events at the day care
? Parenting Info/Articles
? Child care facility Daily Schedule
? Day care Policy Reminders
? Special Activities/
“What We Did Today”
? Copy of the day care Newsletter

Do…

- Put the Parent Board in a highly visible location in your child care service

- Change the board often enough so that parents know to continually look at it

- Direct the new day care parents’ attention to the board

- Try to include helpful, pertinent information

- Try to convey warmth, and a sense of partnership with parents

- Make sure your Parent Board
looks neat, organized,
professional,  and visually appealing.

- Remember what the purpose
     is of the Parent Board.  It is
     not for advertising,
     religious flyers,  etc.

 

Don’t…

- Let the background
become faded or shabby

- Let posted items become outdated or expired

- Only write the word “parents”  on notes and information -  DO include the word “guardian” as well, or “families”

-  Put up nasty reminders.
Word everything carefully
 and respectfully

- Post things with typos or
words spelled incorrectly

- Leave staples up after
  removing the paper(s)

- Tack things on top of each
     other

Cathy Abraham

childcarediva@aol.com

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January 30, 2008

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