Facebook – Friend or Foe?

As a mum, a nursery owner of four settings and an EYP, I feel fortunate to be able to see many different perspectives of the same issue.  As a nursery, “to facebook”, or “not to facebook” has turned into one of those issues that requires examining from all sides!

Trying to find a balance between parent partnerships and nursery promotion alongside confidentiality and safeguarding, we debated the pros and cons of setting up a facebook page for The Village Nursery.

Looking at what was out there already, we could see some settings had truly gone for it and published many beautiful photographs of their children with frequent posts.  OK, we thought, great for business and self-promotion…but…perhaps throws up a few ethical questions relating to privacy, advocacy and safeguarding.  On the other hand, speaking to some other nursery owners I could see their disbelief that I would even consider the evils of facebook!  Oh dear – why indeed?!

Well, we believe we have a responsibility to do everything we possibly can to engage parents in their child’s nursery experiences (being rated Outstanding in Parent Partnerships meant Ofsted clearly agreed) and to disregard a tool that is perfect for sharing information and photos quickly and simply seemed a bit silly.  So after much discussion and debate, we decided on a method that seems to have worked for us so far in terms of balancing up the issues.

We have a public facebook page (www.facebook.com/villagenursery) which we view as a tool to promote the setting.  The only time we ever publish a picture of a child on this page is with specific permission from the parents for that particular photograph.  Generally, this is only once every few weeks and will be one of those “wow” photos that we feel really encapsulates the nursery.

We then have a “closed group” on facebook which is for parents only.  We send the link to this page to existing parents and they click through a “request to join” which the administrator of the page (myself or Rebecca, the Nursery Manager) will accept or decline.  We publish pictures and comments on here a few times a week and share as much as we can about each child’s day.

So – it’s not perfect – we know that!  However, parents have been overwhelmingly positive about how we do this and from our perspective, we are always open with them and acknowledge that even the closed group may not be completely secure (what ever is on the internet?!) and we always of course respect parents decision if they don’t wish to join.  As with most things when you work with children, there’s no black and white, but I would recommend giving it some thought as to the benefits you and your families might gain from making use of a such a powerful social networking tool.

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