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Early Childhood Education
Family and Community Engagement
Families are a very essential factor in the development of a child who is especially in kindergarten. Little Steps Early childhood Centre aims at providing quality family and community engagements favorable for the child to learn. Family engagement is based on involving the parents and care givers in the child’s development in school and at home (Bruce, 2011). An interaction between the family especially the parent and the teacher allows the education provider understand the child better and is able to make the learning environment more appropriate. Little Steps Early Childhood Centre, just like any other center, is subjected to constant checks to ensure that they meet the standards of the National Association for the education of Young Children. In this essay we shall discuss the various family and community engagement policies put in place by Little Steps and later recommend better policies to improve family and community involvement.
In our early childhood Centre, we aim at providing quality education through various activities the children take part in around the school. As young children, their minds are like a sponge which absorbs information rapidly. These activities give the children confidence to take part in activities out of the class. Playing activities open up the children’s creative thinking therefore allowing them to creatively work with things in the environment. Furthermore, these activities allow the children to master the skill of problem solving. The children learn to share and interact with others through these various activities the take part in while in school. However, many parents were concerned that their children were not learning as they expected. Parents saw these activities as a waste of time during school time. Care givers also expected the children to have substantial homework once they got home. For this sole reason, the administration at Little Steps makes an effort to engage the family through meeting scheduled to educate the parents on the various activities done in school and the benefits of these activities. By involving the parents in the child’s education, the early childhood Centre is able to meet the family and community engagement policy standards (Swick, 2009). However, there are other activities that the Centre can implement involving interaction between the parents and children in the school environment.
At Little Steps, we always ensure that the parents and care givers are well informed about the activities that are scheduled for every month in the school. There is a provision of a monthly newsletter that highlights on upcoming events at the Centre and recaps on the various activities and events that took place the previous month. This newsletter keeps parents and guardians informed and ensure they do not miss out on the events scheduled for the school. Many parents are at times too busy to remember some thongs, therefore the newsletter acts as a constant reminder for them and also a work plan for them to be prepared for certain meeting at the school. By keeping parents informed and aware of the activities their children are taking part in while at school, the Centre has been able to engage the family and community actually.
Besides the newsletter, the educators at Little Steps Early Childhood Centre make an extra step to make home visits to meet and discuss with parents the various milestones the child has achieved during school hours. The home visit is divided into specific areas where the parent and teacher interact and share the child’s progress while at school and at home. These specific areas include; physical and emotional health of the child, the child’s attitude towards school, the child’s relationships with others, the child’s hobbies, interests and abilities and the learning experiences the child has achieved outside the school. These particular areas give both the parent and teacher an insight of the child’s progress in education and social development. Home visits are very important and beneficial as far as involving the parent is concerned. Some parents are too busy to attend scheduled meetings at the school and therefore home visits are an advantage. Furthermore, home visits give the teacher and parent an extra sense of privacy to discuss issues that concern the child. The serene atmosphere in the home setting ensures the parent and teacher are able to understand each other. Home visits are a very creative way of engaging the parent in the child’s activities and progress. Parents have ample time to discuss the child’s progress unlike in the school where time and space is limited to accommodate all parents. Little Steps has made a huge step in family and community engagement by providing home visits to parents.
Little Steps Early Childhood Centre has however some few changes to be made in the current plan on family and community engagement. The Centre also needs to implement more activities in its program so as to ensure they pass the accreditation awaiting the Centre in the coming three months. After a thorough scrutiny of the current plan, as the head of the committee I was able to note different activities that would require enhancement so as to achieve excellent accreditation. As a committee we also came up with more activities that would improve on family and community engagement.
Firstly, in the current plan there is the provision of a monthly newsletter that informs the parents and care givers on the various events to be held at the school and activities the children take part in while in school. As a technological nation, we as the committee saw it advantageous to not only produce a printed out newsletter but to also provide an email based newsletter. Technology has improved and people can now receive emails on their smart phones and tablets. By sending an email of the newsletter to the parents, they are able to receive it at any time. The email is more convenient as the parent can place notifications that remind them of various activities and events they should attend while going through their schedules. The use of email newsletters will see to the engagement of more parents and punctuality of the parents in attending school functions.
Secondly, the current plan for family and community involvement requires teachers to make consequent home visits to parents. These home visits are quite efficient and convenient for parents who are not able to reach the school during allocated school meetings. This strategy is quite beneficial in involving the parent in the child’s education however it requires teachers to sacrifice a lot of their time. This approach can be very time consuming and costly to the involved teacher and should therefore be scheduled and not random. The planned home visits will ensure that teachers are well prepared and parents are also aware of the visits (Swick, 2007). Eventually through school meetings and home visits, all parents will be engaged in their children’s education.
Thirdly, Little Steps Early childhood center uses activities to learn and explore the environment. These various activities are however perceived as pure play by parents in the school. The parents seem to be concerned that their children are not learning which completely not the case is. To avoid such situations where the parents are clueless of the teaching methods, the early childhood center needs to provide training sessions where parents are educated and informed of the various teaching styles used during the given semester. These courses may be held at the beginning of the semesters before the children enroll for the start of the academic season. In these courses, the parents will also be educated on various ways to enhance their children’s learning while at home and how to assist them in their homework. By educating parents on the different teaching methods and teaching styles the teachers will implement during the academic year, the institution will be able to engage the community and family in the child’s education (Groark, 2007).
Besides improving on the current plan, as a committee we saw the need of introducing more strategies to the current plan which will be more useful and appropriate. Several approaches can be used to engage the family and community in the child’s education and these projects include: provision of a sports day to interact with the families and community, nature walks with senior citizens in the community, cultural day to celebrate various cultures in the community and tree planting day around the community center (Currie, 2001).
Sports are physical activities with a competitive nature. Sports have been used to bring people together since long time ago. By implementing an annual sports day at Little Steps we will be able to engage the community and the families in the child’s education (Currie, 2001). The sports day will allow children to interact with them in competitions that they can take part in together. The members of the community neighboring the childhood center will also be able to attend the sports day and will enjoy the different competitions with the children. Sports day is both a creative and interactive way for the center to engage the family and community.
Furthermore, Little Steps is based in a culturally diverse environment where children from a wide range of cultures and social-economic status interact during school time. A cultural day held annually will be a very convenient way of enhancing interaction and association among all children and their families (Duch, 2005). A cultural day would entail different children illustrating their culture through costumes, dance and food. With the help of their parents and some members of the community, the children will be able to celebrate and embrace their different cultures and social-economic status. With this cultural day there will be neither bias decision making nor discrimination amongst the students and even the community members. Cultural day will be a great strategy to implement in the plan laid out to engage the family and community.
Moreover, children enjoy spending and passing time with senior citizens around the community (Duch, 2005). The center will prepare on a day where the children and senior citizens can take time and make nature walks around the community park. These nature walks will allow the children to learn about their surrounding and will also carry out the senior citizens feel as part of the community. It is also proven that children pay more attention to senior members of the society compared to the younger generation. These nature walks can therefore be used to educate these little children on various social expectations and rules. The Little Steps should therefore seek the necessary permissions to include nature walks with senior citizens in the curriculum as a way of engaging the family and community.
The environment is very important and it is vital that children learn to protect and care for the environment at an early age. Tree planting activities are quite fun and educative at the same time (Lareau & Weininger, 2003). The Little Steps environment committee should implement a tree planting day where the children with the help of their families and community members will be able to plant trees and clean the environment. In the tree planting exercise children will learn why it is important to care for the environment and the various things that can be done to protect and maintain the environment. Through the participation of the family and the community members, children will learn that the protection of the environment is a responsibility of everyone in the community whether old or young. Through the tree planting day, we shall be able to engage the community and the family in the child’s education (Groark, 2007).
Conclusively, the committee decided that the community and family engagement did not require a lot of changes. There were however a few strategic plans that were discussed and when implemented to the current plan, Little Steps will be several steps ahead of engaging the community and the family. These strategies will ensure that the family and community are involved in the education of the child and the child is also able to learn more from the various experiences. The committee drafted a complete report that would then be handed to the director who would give consent of the implementation of the different strategies.
Bruce, T. (2011). Early childhood education (1st ed.). London: Hodder Education.
Currie, J. (2001). Early Childhood Education Programs. Journal Of Economic Perspectives, 15(2), 213-238. http://dx.doi.org/10.1257/jep.15.2.213
Duch, H. (2005). Redefining parent involvement in Head Start: a two?generation approach. Early Child Development And Care, 175(1), 23-35. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0300443042000206237
Groark, C. (2007). Evidence-based practices and programs for early childhood care and education (1st ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press.
Lareau, A. & Weininger, E. (2003). Cultural capital in educational research: A critical assessment. Theory And Society, 32(5/6), 567-606. http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/b:ryso.0000004951.04408.b0
Swick, K. (2007). Insights on Caring for Early Childhood Professionals and Families. Early Childhood Education Journal, 35(2), 97-102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10643-007-0180-9
Swick, K. (2009). Promoting School and Life Success Through Early Childhood Family Literacy. Early Childhood Education Journal, 36(5), 403-406. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10643-009-0305-4
Early Childhood Education: Family and Community Engagement. (2022, Feb 10). Retrieved from https://essaylab.com/essays/early-childhood-education-family-and-community-engagement
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