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ERIC Number: EJ913833
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0164-8527
Building Informed Relationships: What Parents Can Teach Us about Their Children
Stephens, Karen
Exchange: The Early Childhood Leaders' Magazine Since 1978, n194 p38-40 Jul-Aug 2010
Helping relationships bloom authentically between staff, parents, and children is a core mission for early childhood professionals. Because program staff accept responsibility for creating bonds with families, they establish a variety of "family-friendly" outreach strategies. For instance, they plan gradual warm-up visits, hold family orientations, distribute parent newsletters, conduct parenting workshops, sponsor support groups, hold family socials, schedule parent-teacher conferences, orchestrate family field trips, organize home visits, and ensure parent input via evaluations and board participation. All these strategies are great for sparking staff and family engagement. They set the stage for communication and discussion, and they provide opportunities for information-sharing. Early childhood staff have a wide range of knowledge to offer about childhood and "general" principles and stages of child growth and development. But for true teamwork and collaboration with families, systems should be designed so families also regularly share insight, tips, and advice to staff about their "particular" child's personality, development, and experiences. To serve children and families best, encourage early childhood staff to ask for parents' wisdom about their child. Train staff in good listening habits and tactful information-seeking; it is as important as helping them develop good speaking skills. What staff learn during the conversations will promote richer family relationships, as well as more informed developmental assessment, guidance, and teaching practices. This article lists some questions that parents can respond to regarding their child's unique characteristics. Topics will vary according to age and development of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-agers. Getting a parent's perspective on these topics can help staff better understand a family's childrearing choices, as well as children's classroom behavior.
Exchange Press, Inc. P.O. Box 3249, Redmond, WA 98073-3249. Tel: 800-221-2864; Fax: 425-867-5217; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A