Family and Community Involvement

Family and Community
Meridian International Center
Learning Objectives
• Parents and families are actively involved in preschool
activities and child’s development
• Preschool establishes communication, coordination and
participation with a variety of relevant community
• Children are exposed to different community organizations
and centers as part of learning about their community
• Preschool staff develop working relationships with a variety of
social, cultural, recreational and support services to meet the
needs of children in their class(es)
Why involve families
• Research indicates that children who attend
preschool are more likely to succeed if their
parents are involved in the child’s learning
• Children adapt, adjust, and cope better in
preschool when their family are involved in
attending meetings and sessions at the preschool
• Preschools and children are safer when families
and communities are involved.
Social Networks
• There are a number of social networks that
are important for enhancing children’s well
being and development
– The family
– The health environment
– The preschool
– Recreational activities/centers
– Community based institutions
• In order to support child well being and
development, four parties need to interact on
a regular and timely basis:
– The Child
– Parents – attitudes, skills, and practices
– The preschool – expectations, actions, and
– The community – health workers, municipality,
police, parks/recreation centers, charitable
organizations, etc.
Understanding Parents
• What are their attitudes on education and learning
• What are their values on child behavior, discipline, and
• What are their expectations regarding the preschool
• What kinds of skills do they want their children to have
• What kinds of knowledge do they want their children
to have
• What kinds of behavior do they practice at home with
their child
Shared Understanding between
Parents and the Preschool
• Are parents aware of the preschool principles?
• What are teachers’ expectations for the child
and parents?
• What are the priority concerns of the
• What are preschool expectations regarding
parent involvement?
Relationship with child
Home – School
Community - Sharing
learning responsibilities
The child -Social
Cognitive - Language
Protected and
School, Parents and Community Involvement
Children provide:
Common ground for all
Ideas for cooperation
Vision of the future
Parents provide
Basic needs
Learning opportunities
Social interactions
School provides
Safe environment
Stimulating environment
Social interactions
Learning activities
Developing new skills
Providing new information
Community provides:
Contacts with services
Variety of services
Places to visit
New people to learn about
Contact with others
Financial and economic support
Benefits of Collaboration between
Parents and the Preschool
• Two caring parties (parents/families and the
preschool) are in harmony on messages
• Both support the development of similar skills
• Both understand and accept the values of the
• Both share positive attitudes on the child and
his/her abilities
• Both prioritize the child and his/her needs
Indicators of Success of Family, Community and
Preschool Collaboration
• Students
– Increased knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes
– Acceptance of responsibility (including attending, following
directions and agree upon rules/laws)
– Increased self-esteem and confidence
• Social and working relationships improve
• Preschool evaluation and self-direction/regulation
– Physical functions of preschool enhanced
– Health, maintenance, and environment of preschool
– Safe behavior practices applied
Indicators (continued)
• Increased number of vulnerable and needy children attend
preschool on a regular basis
• Families & communities improve coordination, exchange of
information, and share resources
– Preschool offers increased social and emotional support for families
– Preschool and community support family access to assistance and
support available.
– Increased parent and community awareness on importance of early
childhood education and development
– Increased number of family and /or community activities with the
• Increased family/preschool collaboration
– Number of parent visits to preschool increases
– Number of teacher visits to home increases
Why Teachers Should Invest Time
in the Community
• Provides opportunities to benefit from community resources –
human, material, and financial
• Increases teacher awareness of what kinds of resources and
services are available that can enrich the preschool and the child
and his/her family
• Increased sense of safety and security for the preschool and
children while in school or out of school
• Allows for greater diversity of activities within the preschool
• Enhances teachers understanding of the world in which children live
in and how they can adapt
• Allows teachers to understand negative practices that may need to
• Allows teacher to introduce new services and programs into the
preschool environment
What kinds of services are available in
the community?
Prevention Actions: Healthy Development, Safe and Protected
Environment, Family and Community Ownership and
Participation, Recreation and Sports,
Early Intervention: Raising awareness on
disabilities, poverty, school and community
support programs, student assistance, health
related issues
Treatment: Emergency care,
special needs assistance, health
care support, protection and care
Entry Point
for Parent-Preschool Interactions
• During registration period (while school is still in
Encourage parent visits to the preschool with the child
Introduction to teachers and key staff
Introduction to environment and resources available
Introduction to preschool learning curriculum
Sharing teacher’s expectations of the child and parents
Arranging means of contact between parents and teachers
Setting up informal meetings to provide parents with
opportunity to meet with other parents
– Setting up meetings with parents of children in preschool
to share views
Ways to Help the Child Get
Comfortable within the Preschool
• Before preschool begins
– Parents should bring child to visit preschool
– Observe other children at play
– Allow child to spend some time interacting with
other children (opportunity to see positive
– Allow child to ask teacher and parent about the
– Allow teacher to get to know the child and the
child to become familiar with the teacher
Establishing Rapport with Parents
• Ask parents about their child
– Is this their first child or have other children gone to preschool
– Do they have other members of the family living with them
(extended family support)?
– Have they received information on early childhood
– Are they interested in learning more about child development
and innovative ways of helping children to learn?
– Will they have time to spend at the preschool:
• Participating on a regular basis
• Assisting in the classroom
• Meetings
Child-Parent-Preschool (continued)
– Allows parents and child to share personal
information with the teacher on the child
– Allows child to ask questions and raise concerns about
going to preschool
– Teacher should give parents a small briefing on what
to expect on the first day of school
Child adjustment
Expected agenda
How to prepare the child for preschool
What the child needs to bring to preschool
What the parent expects
How to cope with any issues that may arise
Parent-Preschool Interactions
Day 1
• Start of school year
– Send out invitations to parents to attend preschool for the
first day (a few hours)
– Have an agenda set of what activities you will be doing on
the first day (making their own “name tags”, finding a
place to sit, visiting all the rooms of the preschool, outdoor
play games, safety measures, etc.)
– Have special activities that the parents can be doing with
the child
Introducing children to one another
Playing games with the children
Helping children to make their name tags
Making a little clock to show when the parents will return
Child-Parent-Preschool Actions
Day 1
• Brief the child on what he/she is likely to see at the preschool
• Remind them of their earlier visit to the preschool
What did they like most
Who do they expect to see at the preschool
What kinds of games and fun things do they remember they could do
Remind them of their teacher – use her name
• Address any questions the child may have with honesty
Where will the parent be when the child is at preschool
Who will pick them up
Why do they have to go to preschool
How long will they be at the preschool
Will the teacher call the parent if the child wants to speak to her
Suggested parenting group sessions
 Stages of early childhood development
 Parenting skills
 Preschool Educational and Learning Curriculum
 Parental communication
 Child discipline
 Children with special needs
 Social development of children
 Community involvement
 Healthy lifestyles
 Open sessions –to be agreed upon
Routine parent meetings and activities
• Set up 2 hours per month were parents can
drop in for a cup of coffee and talk to teachers
– School should be ready to have a
teacher/assistant on duty to watch over children
as the other teachers meet with parents
– Structure the meeting as a whole group meeting
to allow parents to share their issues or concerns
with one another
– If a parent wants a private consultation arrange
that time separately
Routine parent meetings and activities
• Set up sign up sheet for parents who want to participate in daily activities
within the preschool
– Encourage parents to attend and assist in carrying out activities within
the classroom
– Find out what special skills or talents a parent may have – storytelling,
singing, making things, cooking, drawing, playing an instrument, etc.
and encourage them to share their knowledge in the classroom
– Find out what kind of work parents do – take the children to visit them
at their workplace
• Fire station, police station, park worker, doctor, carpenter,
• Have parents come to school and do show and tell about their jobs
Community Involvement by Preschool Staff
• Principal of school can initiate list of various community organizations,
centers, and services that relate to health, protection, education,
recreation, safety, economic and poverty assistance, etc.
– Make visits to different centers to see what they know about the
preschool, kinds of programs they are currently doing with children
and families
– Introduce new ideas and suggestions on preschool – agency
cooperation and coordination (formal and/or informal agreements
can be drawn up)
– Identify key focal person within the agency who can be the contact
person for later meetings and visits
• Invite members of various agencies to visit the preschool
– Provide them with information on the preschools objectives and
which children are attending and those who are not attending
– Identify kinds of support the agency can provide for the preschool
and/or family
– Identify key problems/strengths of children, families, community
Types of Community Based Programs
Health (physical and mental)
Education (child, siblings, and parents)
Social services (protection, security)
Job and employment opportunities
Recreation (youth, parks, sports center)
Neighborhood/community improvement
Issues to Consider When Linking
with Community Organizations
• Can the various community programs and services
– Come to the preschool to provide services and programs
– Can the children visit the community centers
• Does the community center currently have working relationships with
Non existent – no contact
Information dissemination
Cooperating – provide assistance if requested
Coordinating – provide direct services and programs for child and family
Integrated – provide services and programs in home and/or preschool
Which kinds of support can be further developed?
– promoting healthy development of the child
– Support the prevention of problems – financial, protection, health
– Encourage early intervention support for families in need – mental, economic,
violence, problems
Other types of community services
• Police and Fire Station
• Library
• Municipal agencies and bodies (e.g., parks and recreation, library,
police, fire,
• courts, civic event units)
• Family crisis and support centers, helplines, hotlines – psychosocial
• shelters, mediation and dispute resolution centers, private
• Other child care/preschool centers
• Visits to universities and colleges
• Religious centers
• Museums
Expanding Circles of Collaboration
• Preschool becomes a hub for bringing the family
and community together to support the child’s
development, education, and safety
• Preschool becomes an educational site for family
and community to increase their knowledge,
skills, and contributions to child well being and
• Preschool has increased access to a variety of
different resources that can ensure the long term
development and sustainability of the program

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