Let’s start with First Things First…Setting up the Learning Environment to say “Hi”! Look around your classroom. What parts of your room represent the culture and interests of your families/students? How might you organize furniture, materials, supplies and other resources for easy student access so that they can start to make the learning environment their own? Need some ideas? Take a look at Pk3TeachLeadGrow.org’s Learning Environment Videos and ECERS-R aligned Learning Environment Quick Notes.
Want additional ideas for saying “Welcome”? Consider any and all of these amazing resources compiled by Mildred Agallo from The Center for the Study of Educational Policy, Illinois State University (Thanks Mildred!!!)…
Making Students and Families Feel Welcome
Schools can use a variety of strategies to get to know immigrant families and let them know they are welcome in the school community. Sharing these messages of support during times of uncertainty can strengthen relationships, make communication and problem-solving more effective, and impact student attendance and family engagement.
Inviting Family into the Classroom
While the primary training of a childcare professional appropriately focuses on the safety and education of young children, often too little attention is paid to the role of parents and family members—both as active participants and as part of the daily curriculum—in the early childhood classroom. After all, often the very reason that children are being cared for outside the home is because parents are at work (and therefore busy) or desire an outside social and learning experience for their children. However, it is critical to remember that parents are the “experts” on their own children and their presence, personally and through daily play and projects, should be viewed as a critical part of a child’s success. It is very important that families take a central role, and this can be encouraged by the attitude of the childcare professional and the curriculum used in the classroom.
Create a welcoming environment
Nothing beats a smile as a welcome mat. Greeting children and parents at the door with a smile and a word of welcome at the start of the day, and a similar farewell at dismissal is powerful. A few supportive words at drop-off or pick-up builds relationships that make parents more open to joint problem solving if attendance issues arise. While a welcoming first impression helps all students, it is vital for helping the most vulnerable students feel safe and supported, especially if they are in an unfamiliar school setting.
Be Part of Your Child’s Experience
Families play a critical role in preparing their children for success, and our goal is to actively engage with parents for the benefit of the child and the family. Early Connections Learning Centers build strong partnerships with you from your first visit and enrollment, through your child’s early learning experiences and facilitate a smooth transition to school. Each family receives a comprehensive orientation about our program and services from our enrollment staff and a personal introduction to the center director and classroom teacher. The center director or teacher continues the orientation process and, with you, set goals for each child. Two home visits and two parent/teacher conferences take place annually enabling teachers to learn more about each individual child, share information regarding each child’s progress and to set new goals with you for your child.
Building Partnerships with Families Series
The goal of parent and family engagement is to work with families to build strong and effective partnerships that can help children and families thrive. These partnerships are grounded in positive, ongoing, and goal-oriented relationships with families. The relationships are based on mutual respect and trust. They are also developed over time, through a series of interactions between staff and families. Successful relationships focus on families’ strengths. They build on a shared commitment to the child’s well-being and success. As relationships between staff and families grow stronger, mutually respectful partnerships are built. Strong partnerships with families contribute to positive and lasting change for families and children. Explore these resources to learn strategies to strengthen relationships with families.
Family Engagement: Moving Toward Genuine Family Partnerships in Early Childhood Education
Administrators and teachers in early childhood programs often acknowledge the importance of building relationships with children and their families; however, the act of building respectful, mutual partnerships does not happen by accident. “I’d like to share a personal story with you which captures why I–as an early childhood educator and a grandmother–value genuine family engagement . . .”
Best of new beginnings with your families and students! Welcome from Pk3TeachLeadGrow.org to a GREAT start of the 2019-2020 School Year 🙂!