The Importance of Partnering with Parents in Early Childhood Education

partnering with parents in early childhood education

When parents and teachers partner to better a child’s education, all three feel more valued, respected, and confident.

When parents and teachers work together to help a child achieve his or her childhood milestones, it creates a safe environment in which to grow and learn.Learning how to engage parents with a hands-on approach is the best way to ensure the children in your careachieve their full potential in social and cognitive development.

Parent Partnerships Make a Difference

Partnering with parents in early childhood education allows children to see important people in their lives working together. When children see positive interactions between parents and educators, they begin to understand the importance of building healthy relationships. Children feel safer with teachers and staff who are visibly respected and trusted by their parents, and this allows them to feel comfortable and focus on learning.

Positive partnerships also benefit parents and teachers. Through increased participation, parents become more comfortable with educators and caregivers. When parents feel confident and supported, they worry less and experience better health and mental wellbeing. According to a recent Head Start Impact Study, families thatparticipateinpartnership programs increase their home learning activities. Active and consistent learning increases cognitive development in children and brings families closer together.

It is also important to respect that parents are taking a leap of faith when they place their children in your care. A positive partnership helps parents feel valued and respected by you as an educator. When parents feel valued, respected, and confident in your ability to teach their child, it’s easier for their children to grow and learn. When teachers feel respected and trusted by parents, they can better focus on nurturing the children in their care.

How Can I Encourage Positive Parent-Teacher Partnerships?

Parents know their children and understand their specific needs better than you can.Encouraging parents to share their knowledge can help create a more rewarding environment for a child by giving you a ‘bigger picture’ of theirneeds.

Using a bigger picture approach letsyou relate to the child in a way that makes them feel understood and valued. However, to get this information, you have to have open and honest communication with the parents. There are many creative ways to opencommunication between parents and teachers but the core concepts should always remain the same.

The core concepts of a positive parent partnership are respect, dignity, information sharing, participation, and collaboration.You can start to build positive partnerships by:

•   Providing opportunities for family participation
•   Accepting parents without judging them
•   Trusting that parents are experts on their own children
•   Treating every parent as an individual, and calling them by name
•   Offering positive feedback and encouragement to parents
•   Keeping parents informed
•   Responding to requests for information to the best of your ability
•   Encouraging parents to talk to you about their children

Building partnerships with parents takes time and constant communication. One of the most important things you can do to build trust is to provide resources for parents. Allowing parents to borrow books and other learning tools helps them to reinforce good learning behavior at home. Handouts, videos,and parenting books are all helpful resources for families.

Sharing resources can also mean connecting families with local community resources that can help meet their needs. Keep a running list of local libraries, community centers, tutoring centers, and family outreach groups to provide to parents as issues come up. This empowers parents and families to take action and become an advocate for their child’s education.

You may also consider allowing open visits in your classroom. Nothing fosters trust and communication more than welcoming parents directly into their child’s learning experience.

For more information on partnering with parents in early childhood education, contact Naptime Academy at 844-435-7682. You can also subscribe to our state-approved curriculum to earn your state-required clock hours.