Fostering Effective Partnerships

Effective Partnership between Parents and Early Years’ Practitioners

Parents are one of the most critical people in the early lives of their children. They can support out-of-home children’s learning activities. By working together, practitioners and parents enhances children's learning and development-partnership. A partnership is the involvement of practitioners and parents to benefit children (Penn, 2005). In addition, it can be defined as a formal organization that consist of practitioners which is meant to facilitate parental participation in school. This definition equates the parental and the professional power in school and create effective environment for children to learn. In addition, the partnership creates better experience in children’s learning as well as comfort thus students’ performance is improved. Lastly, effective partnership is characterized by having common goals, trust, open communication and commitment towards working together.

To create partnership, there are strategies that need to be put in place. First is good communication between parents and practitioners. Each participant needs to be clear on the expectations and role of the other individual (Beveridge, 2013). It is important to understand that, the information shared between practitioners and parents is crucial to a child's development. Some parents may have some needs which are unique in accessing information, for instance, parents who are deaf, illiterate and whose native language differs from the languages a practitioner. Parents are a most important resource in creating partnership though, some parents may not be courageous enough but with a little encouragement, they may appreciate a chance to be involved. To create a good partnership, it is important to promote informal opportunity for the parent to talk to educator, share information with parent and make regular time as a practitioner to talk to a parent. Mostly the conversation should be about children; setting visions and missions, opening and closing times, staff training and qualification (Bennett-Conroy, 2011). To make this strategy effective, a parent should know their children’s practitioners, give the practitioners feedbacks, tell practitioner about the children achievements at home and lastly, it is important to share families’ traditions and culture as this will create an understanding of the children and family setting to the practitioner. Practitioner, on the other hand, should share information on children work, records and social events.

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Secondly is home visits. A home visit involves practitioners visiting children at home and this creates a relationship between families and the practitioners. As per the parent-teacher home visit model, which create an opportunity for the teacher and family to connect and build a relationship around their shared goals, for the visit to be effective, the visit should be voluntary, focus on relationship building and should be scheduled in advance (Desforges & Abouchaar, 2003). In addition, it should be for all students and not specifically the struggling students. Research has indicated that, home visit creates effective partnership since practitioners get to understand the family background, the student, the family hopes and dreams for their children and also get to hear what the parents expect from the practitioners (Hornby & Lafaele, 2011). As well, the family gets an understanding of their children’s practitioners. A research conducted on the nursery home visits in England and published in the Journal of Early Childhood Research indicated that, home visits created tension among parents as well as students (Greenfield, 2012). With better and organized home visits, this tension could be eliminated and children development enhanced. Home visits by practitioners can help create a more emotionally secure environment for students.

Thirdly is creating a workshop that involve practitioners, parents and either leaners. One thing that keeps a parent from being involved in the partnership is discomfort with school. This discomfort is usually observed in parents who don’t know how to be involved. Some of the aims of this partnership are to create a three-way partnership among teachers, children, and parents through a creative approach. Some of the ideas of the workshop are to encourage parents and learners to regular talk about schoolwork, gathering reactions, sharing ideas and interviewing or otherwise encouraging interaction among the three parties (Whalley, 2001) In addition, workshops create an understanding of children language development, parent nurturing and discipline strategies. Moreover, in workshops problems relating to the partnership can be tackled constructively. For example, the practitioner can listen to parent input such as a child’s past behaviour.

Research has indicated that, family-led-learning is very important (Mac-Naughton & Hughes, 2011). Partnership encourages early years’ practitioners to open communication lines since parents need to know how their children are doing in the classroom. This is only possible by sharing information between practitioners and parents through a phone call, emails, or even transcript. In addition, it creates a development opportunity based on parent’s communication; teachers have different training skills and partnership with parent create knowledge of the learner’s cultural basis and past experience which ensure that, training is effectively offered to students based on family hopes and goals (Epstein, 2018). Moreover, partnership enables a student to realize that he/she has a network of support which enables him/her to feel a sense of relief whenever the parent and teacher meet. Children usually take comfort in knowing that, the teacher understands the home situation and vice versa (Barlow et al., 2005). Furthermore, partnership enables teachers to learn more about their students and this makes it possible to help cater for the learners need. Lastly, partnership helps create involvement at every stage of development. It is an ideal way for parents to understand how their children are getting on outside their care.

In conclusion, workshop, home visiting, and communication are just a few avenues that early years’ practitioners and parents connect. Practitioners must know that they serving children and in turn focus on what is best for the children. A good working partnership between practitioner and parent is essential in giving a child the best. Regardless of the teacher’s role, parents should know their children practitioners and their expectations in the development of the children. Parent and early stage practitioners should employ several strategies to create partnership that would benefit learners as well as enhancing their behaviour issues.

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References

  • Barlow, J., Parsons, J. and Stewart‐Brown, S., 2005. Preventing emotional and behavioural problems: the effectiveness of parenting programmes with children less than 3 years of age. Child: Care, Health, and Development, 31(1), pp.33-42.
  • Bennett-Conroy, W., 2011. Engaging Parents of 8th Grade Students in Parent/Teacher Bidirectional Communication.
  • Beveridge, S., 2013. Children, families and schools: Developing partnerships for inclusive education. Routledge.
  • Desforges, C. & Abouchaar, A., 2003. The impact of parental involvement, parental support and family education on pupil achievement and adjustment: A literature review. London: Department for Education and Skills.
  • Epstein, J.L., 2018. School, family, and community partnerships: Preparing educators and improving schools. Routledge.
  • Greenfield, S., 2011. Nursery home visits: Rhetoric and realities. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 10(1), pp.100-112.
  • Hornby, G. and Lafaele, R., 2011. Barriers to parental involvement in education: An explanatory model. Educational Review, 63(1), pp.37-52.
  • MacNaughton, G. and Hughes, P., 2011. Parents and professionals in early childhood settings. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
  • Penn, H., 2005. Understanding Early Childhood, Berkshire: Open University Press. Whalley, M., 2001. Involving Parents in their Children’s Learning, London: Paul Chapman.

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