Friday, February 19, 2010

Working with Parents as Partners in Early Childhood Education

“It's so hard when I have to, and so easy when I want to.”
~Annie Gottlier

Creating a sense of community takes time in a preschool environment. I think of it much like building a small city. Everyone has a place and a task….and of course, a temperament.
I really have to spend lots of time getting to know each child as much as I can. Talking with children, doing activities along with the children; math, science and clean up times...everyday routines really do count. One on one bonding can be a difficult task when there are so many little ones at first- but when I spend time investing in the parents and families it makes it much smoother.
This is how I stay connected to families and children:
*I’ll write personal notes on colorful stationary.
*Send home updated questionnaires on changes to foods, allergies, likes and dislikes, usually every 3-6 months (depending on the child)
*Send home humorous anecdotes their child says.
*Thank you notes for having their child come play with us and the wonderful skills I am seeing developing.
I have often seeing that children look to their parents for how to react to school or new situations. Sometimes I spend more time consoling a parent over a situation than a child….and this is necessary for everyone involved, in the end.
I remember one conversation I had with a preschooler while I was working with her mother during her child's preschool transition.
“Ms. Barbra?”
“I think my mom like for me to go to school now. Yeah.”
“You think so, huh?’
“Yeah-huh, a-cause she didn’t cry in the car today.”
“That sounds sad. Do you like school, though?”
“Yeah-huh, but she really needs to stop crying forever.”
In what ways do you stay connected to young children and families?

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