One day a little girl in preschool had created a beautiful piece of artwork in her class. She was so excited at what she had made her with her very own hands. When the teacher placed it up on the wall she could not believe it. Wow! I really am special, she thought.
The next day the teacher talked about an Open House that was coming up. Quietly she looked at the wall where her artwork hung and thought, I can’t wait till mom and dad can see what I’ve done. When the day finally came for Open House, the little girl went home, ate supper and waited. After awhile she pulled on her mother’s arm and said, “Mommy, we are going to be late.” “Late for what?” asked her mother. “For my Open House at school.”, said the girl. “Oh, we’re not going to that.”, her mother said. The little girl was crushed. She thought, if her parents would not come to see her work, then who would?
The following day the little girl walked into the classroom and looked up at her artwork. She hung her head low and said to herself, “It does not matter.” Over the next few years the phrase of, “It does not matter.” quickly changed into, “I don’t matter.”
In this child’s case, the absence of her family’s participation in her school had a drastic effect on both her social and cognitive development that affected her future. In fact, by the time she was fifteen she began drinking, skipping school and her grades turned into F’s. Perhaps you even know of someone who is or has gone through a similar experience.
So now that it is clear why parent partnership in early childhood education is crucial, lets look at what can be done to make some improvements.
The Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) believes that for children to be successful all the way through to adolescence, there needs to be a network of learning supports all around them. HFRP refers to this as complementary learning. The more support the children have around them the better their chances are for consistent learning and development.
I like to think of these learning supports as pillars forming a circle that hold up the child. Here are some examples of what this might look like:
The first pillar would be the parents family and friends
A second pillar is the early childhood education program activities, experiences, expectations and special events
A third pillar is the community libraries, museums, learning centers and community events
Other pillars could be Out-of-school time programs
Health and Social Service Agencies
Not only could these pillars actively participate in the child’s social and cognitive development, but as they begin to interact amongst each other they begin to strengthen the child’s future even more.
Here are some ways pillars can come together to strengthen parent partnership in early childhood education.
Parent partnership can be increased when they touch base with teachers during drop-off and pick-up time. Open House and Teacher-Parent Conferences are also great ways for the two pillars to collaborate with each other.
Schools can have clear and direct lines of communication with parents through the use of newsletters and a parent communication notebook.
Schools can invite parents to help in the classroom, participate in special yearly events, or volunteer for community field trips.
Schools can create a photo album of each child’s activities, school, projects created and monumental moments to engage parents on a regular basis.
Schools can foster a parent-to-parent peer network.
Schools can also hold quarterly parent workshops with childcare where there could be a guest speaker, book reading club, parent Q&A time, scrap bookers event and more.
In Summary, it is safe to say that the more interactive learning support pillars one has in place for the child, the better the overall development will be for that child.
Kinderlime’s App. and Website provides an efficient way to bring both parents and early childhood education centers together to strengthen the development of each child.
Kinderlime offers centers the ability to take photos of the child’s day and send them to the parents. It also allows teachers the ability to create paperless newsletters. Centers can track the child’s milestones and share with parents, and keep an open and efficient line of communication (dialog) through messaging.
All this and more can be done with minimal time and effort for those who use Kinderlime.