When programs create a family-centered environment in which the teachers and parents have common goals, parent involvement tends to be higher. Collaboration with parents should be respectful and balanced when looking for the best interest of the child.
Some family dynamics influence the way parents can be involved and how much participation they can give. Common factors include changing jobs, transportation, work schedules, and the number of children in the household. Always remember to encourage families to collaborate no matter what level of involvement they can give. Teachers and parents exchanging thoughtful ideas and comments can help develop appropriate activities for the families. Giving families opportunities to provide input doesn’t mean that teachers are promising to do everything the parents suggest, but the fact that you are asking for their input will be appreciated.
In the following paragraphs there are several examples that give ideas of concepts teachers can share with parents that will enhance their children’s learning and development.
Teachers and parents that have established strong relationships will support children’s optimal learning development. When working together, the ongoing interaction contributes to a deeper knowledge of the child and can positively affect the context of their lives.
All children can benefit from the time and effort adults can dedicate to their learning. This can be done by interactive games that promote creative and constructive play. Play provides the setting for children’s learning. When children bring their personal skills into a play situation and use their natural ability to engage in imaginative, meaningful play, they can try out new ideas and solve their own problems. Teachers can encourage parents to spend time daily with their child to reflect on what has happened during their day at school and to promote constructive conversations.
Finally, ongoing communication through technology such as emails and social media can allow parent-teacher interactions to be practical, positive, and personal. Establishing open communication the first time you meet a family will certainly continue to play a vital role in the success of the child.
The Children's Learning Institute will be launching a brand new CIRCLE Activity Collection: Family that will be freely accessible to teachers, parents, and caregivers. The collection will host dozens of fun, engaging activities designed for families at home to support children across learning domains and from birth through kindergarten. Visit www.cliengage.org in fall 2017 to view this collection and other exciting new resources!
Quality 101: Identifying the Core Components of a High-Quality Early Childhood Program by Simon Workman and Rebecca Ullrich