“You’ve probably heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Although it cannot be ascribed to a single source, the saying means that a child does not grow up only within a home. A child grows up in a community and in a social world with input and understanding from the community or “village.” When the community works together, children have a much better chance at success, not just in school, but throughout life. “(Etheridge, 2020a, presentation 1, slide 1). I am a firm believer of this, and I have seen it happen so many times in my profession, I want to be a part of the solution to void the gap and support the village, and the families within it.
When I think about teaching young children, I envision my role with the families as a partnership. I have to remember that they know their children best, their culture and home life reflect a lot of what they family’s needs and wants are, and even if they are different then my own, I have to find a balance to reflect my needs as a teacher and classroom with theirs as a family. I always say that we are a TEAM for their child, and our job is to do what is best for them, in the classroom, at home, and as a part of the society in the future. We are a part of the story and these are building blocks to their future.
I think that the community has lacked building the bridge of support at times between the families and the community resources. Families don’t know where to look for help, and that is where teachers can come in to diminish the gap. I feel like also at times it is easier for certain demographics or backgrounds to get the support they need.
I feel that the roles that families and communities have in relation to young children’s developmental assets and irreducible needs, need more support, and can be improved. This I believe starts at the community level, having professionals being able to connect the developmental needs of children within the families and the communities. Using the resources available to support the needs.
Especially during the Pandemic, there are new resources in our communities that are available to help struggling Families, yet many are not sure how or where to get the help. Teachers are mostly distant learning and needing resources for themselves at times that there is a lack of connecting the families and the communities. Children who need developmental assistance during this time are not benefiting from the social distance protocols being set in place. What does this say for our future? Will this children get back on track once everything can get back to a sense of normal? Or is this our new normal, and how will we adjust to it? Let is still put the children first, and find solutions to benefit them through this time and into the future.
I have been working for an organization called quality counts, the main purpose of this organization is to help void the gap between community and families, as well as bringing quality care to early childhood education. “Ample evidence shows that almost all students can achieve at high levels if they are taught at high levels. Studies indicate the entire community plays a vital part in assisting parents and families to find and provide high - quality education for their children.” (Etheridge, 2020a, presentation 1, slide 2). The community plays such a large part in the future of children, yet as a society, we need to find a way to connect them to the families that need them.
Schools need to adopt programs that are focused on the support of families, teachers have a lot on their plate, and they can help with the gap, but there needs to be one specialist at each school that helps assess the needs and connect the families with the support that they need. This is my goal, with my masters, to become this person for our early childhood community within our county. I hope to help support schools connect their families and teachers with resources in the community, and I will start here with my website. In the near future I will start to add resources for families to connect with in our local communities, as well as national resources. Keep an eye out for this new addition to the website in the next couple months!
Reference: Etheridge, L. M. (2020). Module 1: Parent -Family - Community Partnerships Part 1: The Benefits of Collaboration In ED5423 Family, School, and Community [Class lecture slides]. American College of Education.