The Importance of Working with Parents in Early Years

The Importance of Working with Parents in Early Years
The sharing of early care and education of babies and toddlers among parents and practitioners is on the increase. The importance of this partnership approach between different groups of people on the learning and development of a child, especially at times of change, cannot be easily wished away at all costs. The times manifest in the settling in new settings and getting to know a new practitioner. There exists other critical times when the children need these kind of partnerships in their lives like when the they are bereaved, upset or feel excluded in some negative way. This essay illustrates that by working together and sharing important information, parents and practitioners may help children feel better during such times and make their learning and development enjoyable.
Evaluation of Partnerships Roles Early Years
Parents can partner with practitioners to support learning and development of their children in various ways. According to Pianta, Kraft-Sayre, Rimm-Kaufman, Gercke and Higgins (2001, p.120), parents can seek guidelines of what they can do while at home with a child while at the same time making sure their children participate in everyday activities such as cooking, working in the garden, shopping among others. Through such interactions, parents may know closely exactly how their children see and feel about some issues. Concerned parents also give their children an opportunity to use their senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell to learn about their settings. Children mostly learn how to sing songs, tell stories and play games by the help of their parents who create such opportunities through having fun with them. Talking to a child in a bid to encourage him to ask questions gives him an opportunity to find out answers together with his parent.
A parent can do all these by the help of information regarding curriculum mutually shared from the practitioner. The use of notice boards is very important in letting the parents know what activities their children engage in on which day of the week. The information on the notice boards should involve the use of illustrative diagrams and pictures to reach parents who have little English mastery. Practitioners may also invite parents to share the information about their cultural beliefs and traditions and the topics that interests their children the most to help in supporting their children’s learning and development, as revealed by Pianta, Kraft-Sayre, Rimm-Kaufman, Gercke and Higgins (2001, p.124).
Parents may also contribute to their children’s learning and development through sharing their experiences and talents in out-of-home setting for the betterment of the learning process. The involvement of parents in the settings may be done in different ways although on a general basis, parents should create some time with their children in the learning environments where they play together, demonstrate some artwork like knitting, making a book and even accompanying their children to a trip. Able parents should also support the play by financing outdoor planting and play area, help with play activity or donate play props (Wheeler and Connor 2009, p.147). Organizing outings and sports with the help of parents is something for which practitioners are ever grateful. Decisions regarding the health activities, routines and food are made with the consultation of parents since they are the ones with the child’s background information on such issues. The parents of a child may determine where and when their children can go for a trip without developing health complications.

Benefits of Working with Parent in Early Years
The benefits of these endeavors does not only live within the confines of the babies and toddlers but also parents and practitioners. The parents feel more valued and respected by being actively involved in the learning and the development of their children and also develop a sense of understanding and recognition for their family’s values, traditions and practices which makes them feel comfortable vising the pre-schools and freely talk with practitioners. The kind of interaction experienced helps the parents to know how important childhood care and education is and appreciate the experiences of their children while out of home in helping them learn and develop. Concurrently, practitioners gain better understanding of the children and families in their setting and use the information to make learning and development process of the children more interesting and rewarding for kids (Berger and Riojas-Cortez 2000, p.39). They also help kids develop a sense of identity in the new settings by actively involving their families and conducting learning with a background to which the children are already used. The practitioners also benefit a great deal from the parents’ skills and expertise enabling them to provide a more emotionally secure setting for children. These partnerships help the children gain confidence in the learning system and they feel more secure and benefit a lot from the learning opportunities with which they are provided. The inclusion of home values in the learning makes learning more enjoyable for the kids who then experience more connections among different services that support their learning and wellbeing. Children enjoy hearing and sharing their home language too.
Diversity and Inclusivity among Other Challenges
Wheeler and Connor (2009, p.144) argued that diversity in culture, race and tribe influences the attitudes of the children towards the new learning environment. The parent’s attitude towards diversity will automatically impact on the child’s attitude towards the setting. Inclusive settings recognize and celebrate diversity sending a welcoming and valuing information to people of all races and kinds. Practitioners should not assume that their own way of being a parent, a guardian or relating to the child is the only right way to do it but it turns out that many get it wrong as effective parenting can take many forms. The first contact between parent and practitioners should set a good tone for all the parties. Some parents are timid and may not free find their way to the doorsteps of the new setting especially with rumor about how cold a receptionist would be towards them. The admission policies may be structured in a way that does not block some parents from getting the opportunity for their children. This may be achieved by changing the commonly known notion of ‘hard to reach’ parents to ‘hard to reach’ settings. In addition to cultural diversity, misunderstanding and conflicts between the practitioners and parents may mar the process of development of this partnerships and ruin its intention for the betterment of the child.
In conclusion, parents and practitioners may help children feel better during hard times and make learning and development enjoyable. The parents are sources of information that the practitioners use to mentor their kids. The practitioners are also the source of information on which the parents rely to mentor their kids. Parents and practitioners mentor kids alike. Partnerships in the learning and development of babies and toddlers have a significant impact of on the kids by impacting on children, practitioners and parents. However, this benefits are not short of challenges like cultural diversity and conflicts between parents and practitioners.

References
Berger, E.H. and Riojas-Cortez, M., 2000. Parents as partners in education: Families and schools working together. Upper Saddle River, MD: Merrill.
Pianta, R.C., Kraft-Sayre, M., Rimm-Kaufman, S., Gercke, N. and Higgins, T., 2001. Collaboration in building partnerships between families and schools: The National Center for Early Development and Learning’s Kindergarten Transition Intervention☆. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 16(1), pp.117-132.
Wheeler, H. and Connor, J., 2009. Parents, Early Years and Learning: Parents as Partners in the Early Years Foundation Stage-Principles into Practice. JKP.

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