What if "pleasing parents" compromise quality?

“We have to please parents”; But is there any reason to compromise quality educational programs?

Fact: There are some contemporary practices in our sector that are considered unconventional and go against the grain of what “parents” (i.e. Education and Care “industry” market) expect.

I see these statements on forums and hear these concerns daily:-We do this to please the parents; Our parents expect us to do this; We are pressured by parents; If our parents want it then that’s what we have to do; Our parents are our clients so we have to give them what they ask for.

Funny you say that… because I’m going to challenge the inconsistency of this viewpoint.

So if a parent asks for a piece of product-oriented craft each day you give it to them. If they want their child writing and reading sight words at 3-4 years old you program for that. If a parent asks for an infant to be woken after 30 mins you do that too. When a parent insists that the child is learning literacy and numeracy like a 7-year-old at 3, you’re cool with that. Parents don’t like their child getting wet or muddy so you limit natural sensory stimulation.

I see these comments so matter of factly stated. Like there is no choice. We have to please the parents.

What if a parent said every time my child smacks another child I want you to hit him, or put him in the cot room by himself until he’s learnt his lesson? What about if a parent asked you what you were doing about their 6-month-old’s walking skills? How about if a child doesn’t obey staff, his parent requests that he is seated on a naughty seat until he complies? What if a parent insisted that their child have coke in their bottle as a treat when she’s good? And finally, how do you react when a parent sends a sugary processed lunch box every day of the week? Do you say “we have to please the parents”?

No, you freaking don’t. So what’s this about? Educators know full well that a truly play based intentional program carefully designed to support learning against an approved national learning framework is in the best interest of children’s learning and development. YET, they will compromise this program by succumbing to pressures of “school readiness” expectations and bow to requests from parents who are not trained early education experts.

Stop it. Your program should be informed by the National Quality Framework, and specifically, an approved learning framework (e.g. EYLF). In fact, “each child’s current knowledge, ideas, culture, abilities and interests are the foundation of the program”. We HAVE to educate families on contemporary Australian educational program and practice and tell them why we do what we do so they are “pleased” by your professionalism.. not Valentine’s day card or a green egg carton caterpillar.