As parents and families play the most important role in the lives of their children, many challenges and pressures that families face have been given increasing concern. For example, separation and divorce, family violence and financial problems. This essay will discuss the importance of effective parent/teacher partnerships in early childhood education, and focus on one particular challenge that a family may face and identify the effects that this challenge may have on children and their families. A range of relevant strategies can be used to support children and families also will be analyzed. As well as, how parent/teacher partnerships and relevant community organisations would support families with this challenge will be discussed.
‘Family’ is a meaningful and pervasive word in people’s daily life and culture. The meaning of family can vary to individuals due to regional, cultural and religious influences. According to Robinson and Diaz (2006), a family is generally perceived as a ‘natural’ expression of human biological relationships. As well as, “ for statistical purposes a family is defined as two or more people living in the same household who comprise wither a couple, with or without children, or one parent and their children” (Ministry of Social Development [MoSD], 2004, p. 19).
Effective parent/teacher partnership plays a pivotal role in supporting the development of children. It is apparent that parents’ involvement or interaction with their children’s early childhood education centre is important to both teachers and children. Parents can be involved by “providing necessary information about the child, providing resources and attending special events to active participation in decision-making” (Keesing Styles, 2000, p. 5). Teacher plays a significant role in holding the teacher/parent partnerships together (Patrikakou & Weissberg, 1999). In order to build positive and strong partnerships, it is crucial for the parents and teachers to show mutual respect and trust, and also open ‘both-way’ communication to each other (Keesing Styles, 2000). Teachers and parents can share their ideas and thoughts, discuss their aspirations and centre philosophy together if they can build good and trusting relationships with each other. Besides, early childhood professionals and parents need to communicate regularly, especially because of the diversity in teachers’ and parents’ cultures and values. Gonzales, Moll and Amanti (2005) refer that “ once the relationship level of the communication between parents and teachers becomes more reciprocal… it creates new possibilities for teachers to engage households and for parents to engage the early childhood centre in fundamentally new ways” (p. 280). It is important for teachers and parents to do healthy exchange of ideas, thoughts and information and even special strategies that related to the children and their learning. Constructing positive partnership is an effective and efficient way to enhance adults’ knowledge and understanding of children and their learning opportunities, and so contribute to children’s learning and wellbeing at home and in the early childhood education setting (Mitchell, Haggerty, Hampton & Pairman, 2006). Moreover, it can help children in increasing the sense of being cared when children see their parents or family working closely together with their teachers. It also gives the child a great opportunity to experience a trusting and secure environment in which they can learn and grow better. As Te Whaariki states that “ the feeling of belonging, in the widest sense, contributes to inner wellbeing, security, and identity” (Ministry of Education [MoE], 1996, p.54). There is no denying that parents’ participation in the early childhood education programme and centre’s activities and the positive working relationships between parents and teachers have effective impacts on both children and families.
In the contemporary society, it is obvious...
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