Family
Partnerships
Building Partnerships with Parents
in Child Care and School
Framework for Family, School
and Community Partnerships
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There is a critical need for:
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Family-like schools
School-like families
Community-minded families
Family-friendly school and communities
Family Centered Approach
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In a family-centered approach, the concern
of the center is on the child AND his
parents.
Emphasis is family support and services
The premise is that strong, healthy,
productive parents will engender those
same traits in the child.
Focus on partnership on behalf not just of
child but of the family
Innovative methods to increase interactions
are encouraged, such as classroom
telephones, personal family visits,
journaling, and others.
The center becomes a community focal
point for family activities
Family-Centered Care
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The family should be viewed as the
primary teachers and caregivers of
children.
Staff do whatever they can to
support the parents in this role.
Good parent-staff communication
Providing services for parents that
assist them in their role.
Benefits of Teacher-Family
Partnerships
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Children
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Families
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Security in new environment
Sense of self-worth
Knowledgeable, consistent responses
Support
Knowledge and skills
Teachers
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Feedback
Enriched learning experiences
Barriers to Family Partnerships
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Teacher Reluctance
Parent Reluctance
Power Issues
Trust
Teacher Attitudes Conducive to
Family Partnerships
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Concept of Professionalism
Sense of Self
Humility
Compassion
Respect for Others
Trustworthiness
Elements in Successful Family
Involvement Programs
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Written policies
Administrative support
Training
Joint partnership approach
Two-way communication
Networking
Evaluation
Joyce Epstein’s Six Types of
Parent Involvement
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Parenting: Assisting families with parenting
skills
Communicating: have effective homeschool and school-home communications
Volunteering: Organize volunteers to
support school
Learning at home: Involve families with
children in homework and other activities
Decision-making: Include families as
participants in school decision and develop
parent leaders
Collaborating with the community:
Coordinate resources and services for
families and provide services to community
Group Activity
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Red
One thing I worry about as a teacher
establishing a partnership with a parent
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Orange
One idea that can be successful in
dealing with a difficult parent
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Yellow
A form of written communication that
works with parents
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Brown
A positive memory of your parent or
another parent being involved in the
classroom or school
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Blue
A form of verbal communication that
has worked well with parents.
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Green
One way to assist non-English speaking
parents in being involved.
What are policies?
Policies are the basic rules and ideas
that govern your care of the
children and your dealings with
parents. It includes information
about your business, the way you
work with the children, what you
expect from parents.
Forms for Parents
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Policies
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Homework Policy Planner Sample
Procedures
Emergency Forms
Medical Forms
Policy Handbooks and Websites
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Small Fries Child Care:
http://www.smallfrieschildcare.com/page5.html
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Elementary:
http://www.friscoisd.org/admin/docs/15476060809.pdf
Pasar http://www.pisd.edu/parents/program.pasar/index.shtml
Middle School:
http://www.friscoisd.org/schools/fowler/documents/MicrosoftWord-FMSSTUDENTHANDBOOKADDENDUM.pdf
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High School:
http://www.friscoisd.org/admin/docs/111635050809.pdf
Building Partnerships
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Communicate both verbally and
written
Listen Carefully
Show interest in family
Respect Differences
Provide resources
Encourage involvement
Maintain confidentiality
Communications Basic
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Be warm and sincere
Smile a lot!!!!!
In writing:
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Make things in color
Put in a graphic but not too much!
Put borders on material
VERBAL COMMUNICATION
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Orienting parents and children
Open house
Welcome call
Telephone
Parent centers
Parent volunteers and involvement
Get-togethers for classes
Home visits
Parent visits to room
Parent/staff meetings
Parent bulletin boards
Regular conferences/goal setting
Positive Phone Call
Opportunities
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Before first day of school to
introduce self
When student performs positive
behavior
When child applies himself in special
way
When student shows improvement
When student is absenf for more
than a day or two
Active Listening
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Listen to verbal and nonverbal
Reflect back
Paraphrase
Focus on the speaker and listen
Show interest by your body
language and chair arrangement
Look at communication other than
words
Reflective Listening
Convey understanding and clarify
meaning by:
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Clarifying: “I don’t understand what you
mean. Please explain that again.”
Paraphrasing or restating: “This is what I
think you mean. Is that the idea?”
Reflecting feelings: “You seem to feel . . .
Am I right about that?”
Summarizing main ideas and feelings: “Here
is what I’ve heard you say so far.”
Practice Reflective Listening
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You are a first grade teacher and a Mom (or
Dad) has just come in upset because her child
came home with her new dress with mud on it
because Joey, a very active playmate, pushed
her down.
Use reflective listening:
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Clarify: “I don’t understand what you mean. Please
explain that again.”
Paraphrase or restate: “This is what I think you
mean. Is that the idea?”
Reflect feelings: “You seem to feel . . . Am I right
about that?”
Summarize main ideas and feelings: “Here is what
I’ve heard you say so far.”
Communicate through
Correspondence
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Say Hello in a Letter
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Information about your professional
background
Your personal interests (hobbies,
travels, etc.)
Your educational plans and special
activities for the upcoming school year
A Statement expressing your
confidence in the success you expect
for all your students.
Weekly Communication Folders
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What to Tell Parents About the
Folder
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Their child will bring this folder home
weekly.
You will include a brief update about
what the class has been studying.
The folders will include student work
samples.
To encourage parents to comment on
their children’s work, let them know
that you will include a space for parent
replies.
Written Communication
Samples
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Candid-Grams
Teacher-Parent Telegram
Parent Appreciation Station
Volunteer Helping Hand
What to Say When You Call
About a Problem
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Begin with a statement of sincere concern.
Describe the specific behavior that
necessitated the call.
Describe steps you have taken to solve the
problem.
Get information from the parent.
Present your solutions to the problem.
Express confidence in your ability to
address the problem.
Plan for follow-up contact.
Cultural Influences on Children and
Family Behavior
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Interest in and concern over children acquiring skills by a
certain age
Sleep patterns and bedtime stories
Children’s role and responsibility in the family
Toilet training
Diet and mealtime behavior
Discipline and child guidance methods
How parents talk to children and how children talk to
parents
How parents show affection
Importance of gender identity and traditional sex roles
Dress and hair care
Concept of cleanliness
Illness and use of medicine or folk cures and remedies
Use of supplementary child care
Acceptance of crying
Child’s attachments to adults/separation from adults
Celebrating Differences
Believe in Children’s Ability to Achieve:
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Make them feel comfortable in the classroom and figure out a way to communicate if they
speak a different language (make picture boards, learn a few words of their language).
Involve Families:
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Get to know the family, invite them in, plan multi-cultural events (where they won’t feel out
of place), at no cost and at hours they can attend. Invite families in to share part of their
culture (food, clothing, objects, practices, etc.).
Ongoing Communication:
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When there is a language barrier with parents, it is easy to stop communication all together.
Arrange for someone to interpret if there is a language barrier. Send information home
regarding the program and the child’s activities.
Home Visits:
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These help the teacher see the child in a more personal way and contributes to the
understanding of customs and beliefs. Visits should be brief (no more than 30 minutes) and
should be arranged ahead of time.
Talk to Children About Differences:
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Introduce differences in all children and allow them to ask questions regarding these.
Explain differences in non-judgmental, respectful ways. Explore different customs and
cultures through activities.
Live with Diversity:
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Incorporate music, languages (in spoken and written form), real materials, literature
and customs in the daily experiences of the children that will increase awareness and
appreciation of diversity as a natural part of our being. Vary center family activities to
appeal to diverse population
Handling the Angry Parent
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Remain calm:
Try to keep your cool.
Diffuse the situation:
Ask the parent to calm down a little or at least get out of
earshot of the children. Ask them if they would like to go
somewhere and talk (do not go alone or close door to an
office or conference room if you feel they are volatile).
Use reflective listening:
You may be able to help them calm down through
understanding. After listening to what they say, try to check
your facts and label their feelings. Ask for clarification.
Set up future meeting or conference:
This may not be the most constructive time to talk.
Follow-up the next day:
Even if your meeting is not this day, call or make sure you
talk with them and ask how they feel about the situation now.
What do you do in volatile situations?
PROTECT YOURSELF:
 Don’t do it alone
 Use physical barriers
 Call the police
Remember your priority:
 Your safety and the child’s safety.
Problem Solving
Behavior: Parent is rude and noncommunicative
Possible Causes:
Parent feels insecure and fearful about teachers and
schools in general. Stress related to job, family.
Intervention:
Make a home visit. The parent needs to communicate
on her home ground. She needs reassurance that the
teacher is friendly and understanding and has a
genuine interest in her child. She needs to know that
the staff will be non-judgmental. Continue to greet
warmly. Share short comments about child’s day.
Problem-Solving
Behavior: Parent is always late.
Possible Causes:
Parent has no or inadequate
transportation. Parent is asked to
work overtime frequently.
Intervention:
Facilitate the formation of car pools,
provide bus information, introduce
parents living near one another.
Problem solving
Behavior: Family of different ethnic origin is not at
all involved in program. They do not talk to staff
or respond to or return forms.
Possible Causes:
Parent does not speak English. Center uses one
method in discriminating information. Such as:
note in child’s bag.
Intervention:
Contact a bilingual friend or community
organization in your neighborhood and schedule a
home visit or conference with the parent. Brush
up on key words in the parent’s native language.
Hand deliver forms and explain need.
Problem Solving
Behavior:
Parent seems disinterested in child. She never
greets him or asks him about his day. The child is
dropped off and picked up without ceremony. He is
neat, but not always clean and often seems hungry.
Possible Causes:
Parent has too many personal problems to pay
attention to child, pay bills, or attend to other details
of life. Parent working two jobs. Cultural influences.
Intervention:
Be understanding a supportive. Give parent
information on community resources and support
groups (or start a parent support group at your
center). Be accepting of her feelings and do not
become defensive.
Parent Conferences
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Types of parent conferences
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Beginning of the year
Follow-up
Conferences when there are problems
Guidelines
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What are your goals for the conference?
Parent Conference Planning Sheet Sample
Comfortable, quiet setting
Have assessments, examples of work, daily log
Start with a positive note on child
Share specific information on all areas of
development
Pause to allow parents to share
Be honest
Summarize
Develop goals and strategies
Follow-up
During Conference
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Stop talking
Put person talking at ease
Show you listen by nonverbal cues
Remove distractions
Empathize
Be patient
Hold your temper
Don’t argue or criticize or give advice!
Have a positive beginning and ending
No technical jargon
Avoid being the expert: no shoulds, musts, say lots of
parents find, I think, you are the expert on ______
Don’t label, no hyperactive or mentioning learning disability
Avoid negative evaluations and words such as problem,
behind, immature, never, can’t, slow, failing
Summarize at the end
Conduct a Conference!
Divide into groups of 3: one person is the teacher, one the
parent and one is the “coach”. The coaches job is to
help the teacher with words and responses in the
conference.
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A Kindergarten teacher is meeting at the beginning of
the year with a very protective parent who feels their
child is gifted and should be moved on up into first
grade!
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A toddler teacher is meeting with a first-time parent
who is very nervous that her 2 ½ year old child is
delayed because he is not yet potty-trained.
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A preschool teacher is meeting with a parent of a child
who is having some difficulty with social situations.
The child is shy and quiet.
How do you involve parents in
classes?
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Use a needs assessment
Offer food, transportation, child care
Provide in their community or
comfortable setting
Provide in language or cultural
context
Make it interactive
Open-ended discussions
Honor their expertise
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Lecture 10: Parent-Provider Communication