Educating children is more than just a job for educators. To be as effective as possible, it also requires community support from parents, guardians, and other family members. Children need help and consistency in the classroom and at home to get the most out of their education. To ensure parental and family involvement, teachers in early childhood education can use a childcare survey to gather feedback, suggestions, and valuable insights from parents to provide quality child care.
Keep reading to understand more about the goal of a survey, view some examples and sample questions, and learn how to format them.
The goal of a survey
Administering parent surveys is a great way to forge a productive relationship with children and their families. Creating an open forum for parents and guardians to share their insights and provide feedback helps establish transparency, inclusion, and communication. As an educator, your goals for the survey may vary, but at the end of the day, the objective is to provide children with the best education and environment possible.
Some common goals of a childcare survey for parents are to:
- Increase family engagement
- Evaluate your program
- Understand parent satisfaction
Setting these goals, along with taking the initiative to establish dialogue and collect feedback, helps you connect with each child's family, develop a sense of belonging, and affirm that the families are seen and heard. You can use the information collected to enhance program quality, build a curriculum, make lesson plans, and create a classroom setting that enables growth and supports each child and their individuality as much as possible.
Keep family experiences and engagement top of mind when planning the school year. This can be reflected in how you construct the survey, including how it flows, the questions asked, how it's formatted, and how it's distributed. When structuring these surveys, aim to ask roughly 15 to 20 questions to avoid overwhelming parents. Answer formats can vary from a rating scale or multiple choice to free-response or open-ended questions. Personalize and tailor the questions and statements to meet your survey's goals.
For example, suppose the overall goal of your childcare parent survey is to evaluate your program. In that case, you might ask, "How satisfied are you with the overall quality of this program?" Parents can respond by rating the quality of the program on a scale from one to ten.
Examples of parent surveys
Below are a couple examples of childcare parent surveys with various goals, questions, and response formats.
Parent satisfaction surveys
These survey examples collect feedback on how the center communicates, the quality of care the children are receiving, the progress the children are making, and more.
Parent survey questions
Here are sample parent survey questions that focus on center operations, staff, program quality, child progress, diversity and inclusion, and more.
Program qualityRating questions (presented as a scale, e.g. 1-10; strongly agree to strongly disagree or multiple choice)
- How satisfied are you with the overall quality of this program?
- The center is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion through enrollment, materials, curriculum, and communication.
- Do you have any suggestions for improving our program to meet your family's or your child's needs?
- What are your top reasons for enrolling your child at our center?
The child's care and developmentRating questions (scale or multiple choice)
- On a scale from 1-10, how well does the center meet the individual needs of your child?
- On a scale from 1-10, how happy is your child at our center?
- What questions do you have about your child's development?
- What suggestions do you have for enhancing your child's care and development?
CurriculumRating questions (scale or multiple choice)
- On a scale from 1-10, how well do the activities and materials offered reflect your child's cultural identity?
- On a scale from 1-10, how inclusive and multicultural is the center’s curriculum?
- What have been some of your takeaways from your child's growth and development this past year with us?
- What suggestions do you have for improving the home-school connection?
Family and teacher partnershipsRating questions (scale or multiple choice)
- On a scale from 1-10, how knowledgeable are your child’s teachers about the best way to support them?
- On a scale from 1-10, how well-informed are you of your child’s progress and development during parent-teacher conferences?
- What worked well this year in your family-teacher communication?
- What's an important takeaway from your partnership with your child's teacher this year?
Family experience and educationRating questions (scale or multiple choice)
- During parent-teacher conferences, I feel well informed about my child’s progress and understand how my child’s development is measured.
- I feel supported in my role as the parent/guardian.
- Do you have any suggestions for improving the family experience at our center (e.g., center events, communication, volunteer opportunities, family/teacher partnership, parent education, etc.)?
- What center activities and/or parent opportunities (e.g., parent education, volunteer, etc.) have been most meaningful to you?
Center operationsRating questions (scale or multiple choice)
- The center is adequately staffed.
- How satisfied are you with the center's hours?
- What is your favorite space at our center?
- Do you have any suggestions for improving our center operations?
Surveys should be inclusive and accessible to ensure that every parent can easily complete them. They should be made available in different formats, including:
- Offering online and offline options for parents to complete the survey. You can give them printed versions for completion offline and links to online surveys using platforms such as Google Forms or SurveyMonkey
- Allowing parents to use the center's devices to complete surveys (e.g., a computer or tablet)
- Providing surveys in the parent's preferred language when possible
Additionally, you should inform parents of when the survey becomes available and of the completion deadline so they have ample time to complete it. A tool like brightwheel's communication feature is an excellent way for families, staff, and administrators to interact with each other and even share surveys via text or newsletters.
Measure and improve center performance with a childcare survey for parents
Collecting family feedback is essential to building a stronger childcare program while also boosting family engagement. Centers can administer surveys multiple times a year to increase response rates and the quality of the feedback received. Consider sending them out quarterly or annually with your newsletters or announcements.