Parents as Partners - Strengthening Trust and Communication Between Teachers
Kidzee Preschool - Nov 2019 to Jan 2021
Kidzee by Zeelearn was started 8 years ago. It has over the years established itself as a trustworthy and quality preschool. Although in the past 7 years, the school has set a firm ground and gained a lot of experience, it still faces a few consistent challenges.
My brief was to identify these challenges, understand them and design solutions in response to them. After a thorough research phase, two key problems stood out -
1. Lack of personal and professional development of teachers leads to low confidence and weak self-identity.
2. Lack of trust between parents and teachers.
3. The above points contribute to a toxic organisational culture.
In a span of 1 and a half years, I worked on redesigning the services and the organisational culture of the preschool to address the challenges
In a span of 1 and a half years, I co-designed:
1. A personal and professional plan for teachers
2. A teacher's toolkit that consists of a journal and planner, a web application that supports the personal and professional plan and monitors learning and progress, worksheets for constant learning, prompts for group activities to increase collaboration and organisational culture.
3. An admin toolkit that consists of an admin manual with strategies to strengthen culture and general management guidelines, a journal and planner and a web app.
4. Services for increasing parent-teacher trust.
Additionally, I designed methods to measure organisational change and the impact of services designed and invited four subject matter experts to host events and design educational material for the teacher's development.
Along with designing for teachers, I wanted to design experiences that provide the opportunity for parents to have meaningful, compelling, and fulfilling experiences that address their needs and satisfy their wants. This was led to a rethink of the role of a parent in a child's early childhood education. The goal for this is to ultimately improve the parent-teacher relationship and trust.
When researching and designing for teachers, the need to understand and design for parents became clear. The school faced a lot of challenges related to managing the relationship and expectations of the parents. Hence, it became vital to design for parents and create a well-rounded systems change in the organisation. Some of these challenges that the school faced were -
Miscommunication between the school and the parents about fees and invoices, pick up/drop off and day to day activities.
Parents were not sensitised about early childhood development, childcare or learning disabilities.
Parents did not participate in any kind of school activities. The school had only 2 events with parents that year.
Parents are unaware of what was being taught at the school. There was a clear lack of communication between the teachers and the parents.
Parents and teachers didn't trust each other.
Parents expected the school to teach everything to the child.
Lack of motivation by parents to get involved with school activities.
To create a positive and trustworthy relationship between the school and the parents.
Understanding the needs, backgrounds, values and expectations of the parents.
Determining how we can sensitise them about the importance of early childhood education and integrating them as an important part of their child's learning process.
To reach these goals, the various perspectives of all stakeholders were to be taken into account. The project sought to establish and consolidate cooperation between the 2 most important stakeholders for imparting quality education for their children.
I used the service development process using a systems lens that includes exploratory, generative and evaluative research which spans the entire development process - from discovery to prototyping.
Exploratory research to uncover and understand latent and masked needs. Methods used were contextual inquiry, google forms, discussions. I tried to identify challenges and problems the stakeholders were facing. Later, I mapped out the current school ecosystem and situations and the desired ecosystem along with the pain points and designed a current state journey map.
Generative research was done to get a deeper understanding of the users. Miro was used as a tool to encourage group discussions to design for themselves. Questions such as "How do you think we can solve this problem?" were used as prompts. The conversations and participatory exercises helped facilitate solutions.
Evaluative research was used to test the prototypes and other strategies for the service users.
Co-designing on miro
SNAPSHOTS OF RESERACH
I recruited 20 families and send them a video tutorial to get acquainted with miro along with a document that explained the goals, objectives of the activities. Every family had their own time slot because -
1. I wanted them to take their own time in doing the activities.
2. Parents wouldn't have been honest and comfortable with everyone present at the same time, even if it was a digital platform.
3. They would get influenced by looking at each other's responses.
After each family was done, I had a long discussion with them and recorded all the responses.
Activity 1 - Built a preschool of your dreams for your child. Describe what everything is like? How are the teachers? What is the atmosphere like? Think of yourself as the owner of the school and design it.
Activity 2 - List down some of the fears or anxieties you feel about your child and their education.
Activity 3 - List down things you like about Kidzee and things you don't like. What are some problems you have faced in the past?
Activity 4 -What is good parenting according to you?
CURRENT JOURNEY MAP
A journey map was used to identify problems and opportunities of the current service. Consequently, a service blueprint was used to design and deliver a better service experience for the parents.
Reminders & Events
Daily announcements related to holidays, events, meetings or any other important notifications will be shown in this section.
Parents can chat with the class teacher or the school admin to get information, stay updated and talk about progress. Parents can also raise concerns, give feedback, notify quickly about anything important.
Learning has to continue at home to make sure a holistic development of the child. This section gives directions to parents on how they can learning at home.
Fee payment records and option for online payment.
This section keeps parents updated about day to day activities of their children by sharing photos, videos, notes etc
Parents need to understand the various developmental milestones and make sure they keep a track of it at home today. In this section, parents can view progress at school, read more about developmental milestones and be involved with the progress at home.
This van tracking feature will let update live location of the van and send any other updates or notifications.