Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/informal-assessment-as-a-tool-for-supporting-parent-partnerships/5018791/The importance of professional-family partnerships has long been emphasized within the field of early childhood education. Today these partnerships stress shared power as opposed to an expert-learner relationship â€" where the professional is the expert and the family member is the learner â€" which was once advocated in the field. One of the overarching goals of these partnerships is to establish bi-directional, mutually supportive relationships between the professional and the programâ€™s families. Referred to as co-constructed relationships, goals include creating an environment that supports family involvement, provides families with social support,
and promotes family empowerment (Lopez, Kreider, & Caspe, 2004).
Building relationships through ongoing assessment
Many strategies contribute to forming such co-constructed relationships, including daily conversations between the professional and family members and regular newsletters that keep families apprised of classroom information and happenings. However, one of the most effective tools that supports co-construction is ongoing assessment, which provides a common base (knowledge of the child) on which families and professionals can build relationships. As a part of this ongoing assessment, informal strategies â€" including observational data collected from both the professional and the families and daily communication between these parties â€" greatly enhance co-constructed relationships between the early childhood program and the ...