Why Bother with the Parents?

For years, as an early childhood mentor and administrator, I have heard teachers and administrators alike tell me that the hardest part of their job is working with the parents. Many teachers have met me with a skeptical eye when I tell them that they should create regular opportunities for the parents and other family members to come into the classroom. While it is true that having a parent in the classroom is going to change the energetic dynamic, it is equally true that actively engaging parents is the right thing to do for many reasons.

Every parent who chooses to enroll their child in early childhood programming is taking an enormous leap of faith in the individuals with whom the child will spend their days. There is an inordinate amount of trust that is immediately handed over to the caregivers and early childhood professionals have an enormous responsibility to handle this trust with deep respect. Inviting the parents to participate in classroom activities, school committees, and governance opportunities naturally creates an environment in which trust can be built. When parents can see teachers and administrators in action they can see their professionalism and compassion in action as well.

Having trust in the teachers and administrators is beneficial for several reasons. First, it allows the parents to take comfort that they have made a good decision for their child and they can feel free to focus on professional and educational success for themselves during the day. Second, it creates opportunities for reciprocal learning by the adults. The teachers, administrators, and parents can all learn from and support one another. Finally, a foundation of trust makes space for challenging conversations to occur with an open and respectful dialogue between all parties. It can be very hard for a parent to hear that there may be some sort of developmental concern regarding their child. If they trust their child’s teacher and the program the child is attending, they are much more likely to be open to a conversation about how best to support their child that considers many perspectives.

It is of great value to our communities and the early childhood profession when parents have the opportunity to engage with the system and share their personal stories. Legislation, regulation, curriculum, and programming are all designed to support children and families. At the end of the day, if the families aren’t being impacted with the desired outcomes, it is our responsibility to seek a new method. When the people making the decisions engage with the people affected by them, better policies and systems can be created for everyone.

Why bother with the parents? Because the parents are the key to the child’s success. Strong families are built on the backs of empowered parents.

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~ by vegucationmama on November 16, 2014.

3 Responses to “Why Bother with the Parents?”

  1. Hi Rebecca
    I find that parent involvement so important for early childhood programs. I especial love that my parents volunteer in my classroom. I make them will welcome in my room. I see how they interact with other parents in the classroom and the children. For example last year my fathers volunteer a lot and one all my father volunteer in classroom telling one mom it dad’s day in there.

  2. Your belief of including parents in the process of their children’s education absolutely echo my thoughts!

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