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Family Gatherings that Build Partnerships

by Sandra Floyd
January/February 2013
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/family-gatherings-that-build-partnerships/5020961/

“Our alliances with parents hold the promise of deep mutual relationships with children and with their families, relationships that grow community.”
Ann Pelo (2010)

When I first began working as an early childhood teacher, teachers were encouraged to try to get parents involved. This typically meant things like encouraging them to help out with field trips, holiday celebrations, or work parties. We held meetings for ‘parent education’ where we talked to them about our philosophy, curriculum activities, and ­‘parenting tips.’ It was many years before I began to see not only the limitations of this approach, but also the unspoken assumption that we teachers knew best and should call all the shots. Today, 12 years later, my current early childhood program, Hilltop Children’s Center, has evolved to a very different way of working. Acknowledging that not all children live with traditional parents of a mom and a dad, we have changed our language, our mindset, and approaches. We now talk about creating partnerships with families.

Creating partnerships with families means developing authentic relationships and collaborating with families around their children’s learning, which is an integral part of our teaching practice at Hilltop. To create a culture of family partnerships, we start each school ...

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