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Taking Your Time with Families

by Kayren Woolum
March/April 2011
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/taking-your-time-with-families/5019855/

Parent engagement has long been a basic principle of Head Start. From its inception, Head Start programs across the nation have worked closely with parents living in poverty to involve them in their child’s education and make meaningful changes in their lives. Many child care centers, at one time or another, struggle with how to work with families that seem to be overwhelmed with meeting just their basic needs. How can we add to their stress by asking them to come to the center, or attend a parent meeting, or even a parent-teacher conference? And why don’t they follow through on our requests?

There are no cookie-cutter methods for working with families in poverty. There is no ‘one size fits all’ quick fix to help each family that comes into your program. Each family will respond to different methods of engagement. It is important to understand that parent engagement with families living in poverty takes time and consistency. Understanding the family, their history, and family dynamics is important. The parent that grew up in poverty has had a lifetime of rejection, stress, alienation, isolation, and exclusion, and suffered the physical impacts of these. They may have trust issues with schools or other ...

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