Parent's Committee and Coordinating Committee Guidelines
Guidelines for Parents’ Committee
and Coordinating Committee
(aka Foreldrerådets arbeidsutvalg or FAU)
Coordinating Committee (aka Samarbeidsutvalg or SU)
Birralee International Kindergarten Trondheim AS
Welcome Parents’ Council members!
All parents who have children in Birralee International Kindergarten are members of the Parents’ Council. Members of the Parents’ Council choose members for the Parents’ Committee and the Coordinating Committee.
The Parents’ Committee is best known in Norway as FAU, an acronym foreldrerådets arbeidsutvalg, and the Coordinating Committee is recognized as SU or Samarbeidsutvalg.
The Parents’ Committee (FAU) consists of eight members, two parents from each of the four kindergarten groups. Two of these eight members will also be selected to serve as members of the Coordinating Committee (SU). The Coordinating Committee also includes the kindergarten leader and one kindergarten staff member, for a total of four members.
Parents’ Committee members serve for one year and can volunteer for reelection in their child’s group each year. As Parents’ Committee, and two Coordinating Committee members, these parents have an opportunity to participate in the functioning of the kindergarten. For instance, you may provide input on planning and drafting of the kindergarten’s annual plan and work collectively with other parents and with kindergarten staff. Those who volunteer for this work should find interest in arranging diverse events for the children as well as participating in discussions about the kindergarten’s overall activities.
The information provided here is designed to give Parents’ Committee and Coordinating Committee members an overview of their roles and responsibilities. Following is a description about cooperation between parents and the kindergarten as addressed in the Lov om barnehager (Kindergarten Act) and Rammeplan for barnehagen (Framework Plan for Kindergartens), as it is practiced at Birralee International Kindergarten.
Information about the Parents’ Committee and Coordinating Committee
The Kindergarten Act, §4 states:
“In order to ensure collaboration with the children's homes, each kindergarten shall have a parents' council and a coordinating committee.”
“The parents' council shall comprise the parents/guardians of all the children and shall promote their common interests and help to ensure that the collaboration between the kindergarten and the parents as a group fosters a good environment in the kindergarten.”
The Parents’ Council (i.e., all parents in the kindergarten) elects members to act as representatives on the Parents’ Committee. The Parents’ Committee and Coordinating Committee address affairs that affect regular activities in the kindergarten.
The Parents’ Committee represents the Parents’ Council and must ascertain that they present the views of the majority of the Parents’ Council. Methods to assemble parental opinions include conversation, e.g., during pick-up or delivery, via telephone and e-mail, and during parents’ meetings.
Each year, two parents from each group volunteer and are, if necessary, elected to serve as Parents’ Committee representative. One member serves as primary member and one as substitute. It is wished that representatives serve a minimum of two years to secure a continuation of the Parents’ Committee’s work from one kindergarten year to the next and thereby avoid membership for a new year comprising all new members. Further, it is expected that at least one Parents’ Committee member from each group attend the four Parents’ Committee member meetings each year.
Composition of Parents’ Committee
The Parents’ Committee arranges its first meeting in the fall
• At this meeting, individuals are selected for the following roles:
- Parents’ Committee president
- Parents’ Committee vice president
- Two representatives to serve on the Coordinating Committee and two Coordinating Committee substitutes
Parents’ Committee responsibilities
• The Parents’ Committee addresses issues brought forward by parents and which concern groups or the kindergarten overall. Comments brought to the Parents’ Committee by parents with respect to individual children will be referred to the group’s pedagogical leader or the kindergarten leader.
• In advance of Parents’ Committee meetings, an agenda for the pending meeting should be sent to parents, including requests for proposed topics and comments about ongoing topics.
• The Parents’ Committee takes up issues with a focus on positive solutions for the kindergarten and everyone involved.
• The Parents’ Committee will keep the Parents’ Council informed through the release of meeting minutes.
• The Parents’ Committee offers constructive suggestions with respect to the kindergarten’s daily operations.
• The Parents’ Committee may arrange three or four social arrangements during the kindergarten year, for instance a Christmas tree festival, a winter activity, a summer party and parents’ meetings.
• At the first meeting, a list should be made of the Parents’ Committee members’ names, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses for inclusion on the kindergarten’s website. This list provides all parents with a resource of who they can contact if they have topics for the Parents’ Committee.
• Parents’ Committee members have confidentiality responsibility and should be cautious with information beyond Committee members.
• All personal information Parents’ Committee members receive should be handled with confidentiality.
• All Parents’ Committee members are to sign a confidentiality agreement, which will be held by the kindergarten.
• If a Parents’ Committee member resigns before the end of the kindergarten year, a new member should be selected as soon as possible. The new representative should be recognized as a full member, announced and contact information published upon agreement.
Parents’ Committee president’s responsibilities
• Register issues to be addressed during Parents’ Committee meetings.
• Schedule Parents’ Committee meetings when necessary. Kindergarten leader can also call meetings.
• Serve as meeting leader at meetings where kindergarten leader is not in attendance.
• Ensure that written meeting minutes are recorded and that the minutes documents are made available to parents.
• Recognize comments to meeting minutes and include in the minutes date/time/location of the next Parents’ Committee meeting.
• Ensure that the Parents’ Committee maintains its membership.
• Maintain communication with kindergarten leader via telephone or e-mail.
Parents’ Committee president can delegate responsibilities among committee members.
The Coordinating Committee at Birralee International Kindergarten consists of two parents (plus two substitutes) and two employees (including the kindergarten leader). The kindergarten leader attends each meeting, to participate and to make recommendations.
The Kindergarten Act, §4 states:
“The coordinating committee shall be an advisory, contact-promoting and coordinating body.”
“The coordinating committee shall comprise parents/guardians and the staff of the kindergarten so that each group is equally represented. The leader of the kindergarten shall ensure that matters of importance are submitted to the Parents’ Committee and the Coordinating Committee.”
Organization of the Coordinating Committee
The Coordinating Committee holds its first meeting of the kindergarten year in the fall. The kindergarten leader has responsibility to call Coordinating Committee members to the meeting.
At this meeting, the Coordinating Committee selects members for the following roles:
Secretary (kindergarten leader)
The minutes from Coordinating Committee meetings should be sent to Committee members and to the Parents’ Council. Confidential information and issues are not to be included in Parents’ Committee or Coordinating Committee meeting minutes.
Coordinating Committee responsibilities:
• The Coordinating Committee discusses, coordinates and determines matters that have been reported by the Parents’ Committee, parents and staff.
• The Coordinating Committee participates in developing and providing suggestions for development of the kindergarten’s planning and goals.
• The Coordinating Committee approves the kindergarten’s annual plan.
• The Coordinating Committee receives from the kindergarten leader information about the kindergarten’s financial condition, budget and staffing levels.
• The Coordinating Committee focuses on positive solutions to issues on its agenda.
• The Coordinating Committee shall protect the kindergarten’s reputation and community profile.
• The kindergarten leader calls members to Coordinating Committee meetings. Members can propose meetings through the leader.
Coordinating Committee leader’s responsibilities:
• Chairs meetings
Coordinating Committee deputy’s responsibilities:
• Assume leader’s responsibilities when leader is unable to participate.
• Kindergarten leader serves as secretary.
• Writes and distributes meeting minutes.
Coordinating Committee member responsibilities:
• Represents Parents’ Council, Parents’ Committee, kindergarten staff and owner.
• Discuss issues with Parents’ Committee/staff in advance of meetings.
• Inform Parents’ Committee/staff afterwards.
Due to restrictions resulting from the Covid-19 epidemic, the first Parent Committee meeting will be held within each kindergarten group and not the kindergarten as a whole in the near future.