Parents: Pain or Partner ECS International Perspectives on Early Childhood
Historical Background <ul><li>Plowden Report (1967) </li></ul><ul><li>Education Acts 1980, 1988 (ERA), 1992, 1994 </li></u...
Limiting factors <ul><li>Relationship between parents and practitioners </li></ul><ul><li>Availability of parents </li></u...
Models of partnership <ul><li>Expert </li></ul><ul><li>Transplant </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer </li></ul>
Barriers to partnership <ul><li>Circumstances </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Jargon </li></ul><ul>...
Barriers to partnership <ul><li>What might some of the barriers be? </li></ul>
What do you think? Most teachers don’t see the point of working with parents. Some parents are just not interested in how ...
Benefits <ul><li>Better informed   “… they must rely on what their children do and say to build up a picture of what is ha...
Strategies <ul><li>Structure </li></ul><ul><li>Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Listening </li></ul><ul><li>Recognising </li></u...
Three-way relationships Parent Practitioner Child
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Parents and partnership

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  • Historical background Plowden Report (1967) acknowledged the importance of parents Education Acts 1980, 1988 (ERA), 1992, 1994 statutory basis of parental involvement – emphasis on parents as consumers, annual parents meetings, parent governors The Children Act (1989) Rumbold Report (1990) focused on early Years provision and the involvement of parents Start Right report (1994) – saw it as part of community education and life long learning Early Learning Goals and the OFSTED inspection framework assessed settings on working with parents Baseline assessment – reporting to parents Foundation Stage – identifies parental involvement as in important influence on child’s development and learning – identifies key characteristics of successful partnership “ Parents and practitioners should work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect within which children can have security and confidence.” Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage p 11 Early Years Foundation Stage (2007) emphasises the importance and significance of the family. Early Years settings seen as an extension of the family in supporting early learning and development. Principle of working closely with families is a key feature of ‘Every Child Matters’ (2004) Not a new idea, can be identified in the work of Robert Owen, McMillans and Susan Isaacs. Also identifiable in philosophies of practice around the world eg. Te Whariki, Reggio Emilia
  • Limiting factors Relationship between parents and practitioners is part of a complex interrelationship of social, cultural and political structures and organisation (Foley et al 2001; Dahlberg et al 1999) Availability of parents – working parents, language issues, ethos Structure of school day, availability of teachers, working time Nature of learning. Research evidence (Eve Gregory, Martin Hughes) suggests that schools do not necessarily value home input. Parents recognise this. Equally parents do not always understand what teachers do (Play curriculum) Do we engage in dialogue about this, is it 1 sided. Parents &amp; education General consensus about parental role Parents supporting learning – does school definition include social development, language, community, and history. Parents as consumers – do they really have choice, is it available to all sectors of society, are they informed enough to make it. Double standards DfEE made Literacy and Numeracy strategies accessible through Supermarkets, what about the Foundation Stage? Parents as policy makers, governors, community education, consultation, education committees/boards – everyone or just the few? Parents meeting schools needs – supporting reading and other activities, outings, fund raising. Special needs – can be an empowering partnership. Skills for teachers Teachers are not trained to work with parents and tend to see parental involvement in terms of what they can gain. Beresford and Hardie in Bastiani &amp; Wolfendale (1996) identify skills, which teachers need. Listening to parents – needs to be active listening Planning – effective use of parents and time to engage with parents Organising – for facilitating groups Communicating – effectively with adults as equals as opposed to children Negotiating Counselling Settings, which have been successful in involving parents, have usually made use of most of these skills.
  • Parental involvement Different models Expert model. Practitioner has negative model towards child’s experiences in home and family. Focus on what child can’t do and family fails to provide. Little opportunity for involvement by parents/carers. Usually minimal e.g. parents may be involved in pact schemes, attend parent’s evenings, share information with staff, receiving information from school, is it accessible e.g. language, can all parents read. Transplant model. Practitioner recognises a limited role. Some responsibilities may be handed over but consultation is limited. Perceived as an authority figure. Default model which can result in greater involvement, helping out in class, on outings – teachers tend to determine who becomes involved, can result in cliques (parents need to be clear of their role but are often reluctant to seek advice), fund raising and other social events, parent governors. Tend not to involve all parents - only a few and mainly mums. Issues as work patterns change. What about EAL parents Consumer model where the practitioner is conscious of parent’s interests and rights, recognition of shared interests. Has roots in Start Right report (Ball; 1994) which recognised that parents are the most important people in children’s lives. Can lead to parents being seen as a homogenous group. More likely to result in partnership – parents feel valued and that they have something to contribute, are kept informed and have a better understanding of early years education
  • Barriers to partnership Parental circumstances – may work, school hours, language, children may be “at risk”. In many areas priority for places is given to parents in need of support therefore they are least able to become involved. Lack of parental confidence in literacy or communication skills. Overuse of jargon in communications with parents Over formality of meetings Negative attitudes/responses to different parenting styles. School may act as a barrier, some have policies which exclude parents except at times determined by the school Power relationship between school/home – if parents only involved for educational reasons, power lies with the school. Playgroups tend to be better at parental involvement because they are run by parents to meet the needs of parents and children. Parent = mother regardless of social status – tends to exclude fathers, grandparents. Recent research Khan (2005) indicates children who spend quality time with their fathers tend to be happier, develop new friendships more easily. Whalley (2001) found fathers benefit from being in company of other male carers or in support groups and parent/child groups Experience of discrimination e.g. travellers
  • Barriers to partnership Parental circumstances – may work, school hours, language, children may be “at risk”. In many areas priority for places is given to parents in need of support therefore they are least able to become involved. Lack of parental confidence in literacy or communication skills. Overuse of jargon in communications with parents Over formality of meetings Negative attitudes/responses to different parenting styles. School may act as a barrier, some have policies which exclude parents except at times determined by the school Power relationship between school/home – if parents only involved for educational reasons, power lies with the school. Playgroups tend to be better at parental involvement because they are run by parents to meet the needs of parents and children. Parent = mother regardless of social status – tends to exclude fathers, grandparents. Recent research Khan (2005) indicates children who spend quality time with their fathers tend to be happier, develop new friendships more easily. Whalley (2001) found fathers benefit from being in company of other male carers or in support groups and parent/child groups Experience of discrimination e.g. travellers
  • Barriers to partnership Parental circumstances – may work, school hours, language, children may be “at risk”. In many areas priority for places is given to parents in need of support therefore they are least able to become involved. Lack of parental confidence in literacy or communication skills. Overuse of jargon in communications with parents Over formality of meetings Negative attitudes/responses to different parenting styles. School may act as a barrier, some have policies which exclude parents except at times determined by the school Power relationship between school/home – if parents only involved for educational reasons, power lies with the school. Playgroups tend to be better at parental involvement because they are run by parents to meet the needs of parents and children. Parent = mother regardless of social status – tends to exclude fathers, grandparents. Recent research Khan (2005) indicates children who spend quality time with their fathers tend to be happier, develop new friendships more easily. Whalley (2001) found fathers benefit from being in company of other male carers or in support groups and parent/child groups Experience of discrimination e.g. travellers
  • Benefits for schools Parents often rely on their children for information about what goes on “… they must rely on what their children do and say to build up a picture of what is happening to them in school” Hughes et al 1994 Where parents know what is going on they feel more inclined to give support but communication needs to be provided in a consistent way. Teachers can learn about the children and the communities that the school serves by listening to parents – leads to a rise in teacher expectations. Parent’s involvement enhances pupil performance.
  • Some strategies Set up structures to ensure that parents feel welcome and relaxed. Plan meeting for parents, adult sized chairs, tea, biscuits, toys for babies and younger children Listen to parents, give them an opportunity to share their views, sort out misunderstandings over curriculum etc. clarify ideas Recognise that parents and teachers interests do not always agree be open about this. They may not agree with anti-racist or gender policies but need to be able to discuss them openly and understand why they are important in the school context. Informing parents about the curriculum in an accessible way, being able to justify the schools approach without undermining the parent. Identifying and meeting parents needs – teachers are not social workers but many parents have common needs e.g. health issues, behaviour management – teachers who are parents can share experiences and show that they don’t have all the answers. Demonstrating that both parents and children are valued – settling in procedures, home visits, flexibility, valuing the home background of the child, being non judgemental. Informing parents about the curriculum and activities e.g. plans on display, newsletters, sharing information about learning experiences, personal profiles Recognising that parents own school experiences may not have been happy ones and seeking to redress the balance. Flexibility – don’t expect parents who offer to help to always put school first. Identify resources and plan for adult time. Characteristics of successful partnership Values child’s voice, parental rights, responsibilities of all parties, accountability. Respect for parents and a willingness to engage as a a supportive additional adult Empowerment and enabling parents, boosts self esteem. Quinton (2004) and Carlock (1999) suggest high self-esteem makes life easier to cope with.
  • All parts of the triangle contribute equally to its strength. If any one of the three is feeling anxious, stressed or under threat, it has a negative effect on the other two. The relationship between child and practitioner needs to be a warm, emotional one. Parents can be reassured that they have the enduring, long-term attachment with the child. Parents and practitioners who establish a friendly, working relationship are able to share what they know about the child regularly. (Edwards 2002; Lindon 2001; Gerhardt 2004)
  • Parents and partnership

    1. 1. Parents: Pain or Partner ECS International Perspectives on Early Childhood
    2. 2. Historical Background <ul><li>Plowden Report (1967) </li></ul><ul><li>Education Acts 1980, 1988 (ERA), 1992, 1994 </li></ul><ul><li>The Children Act (1989) </li></ul><ul><li>Rumbold Report (1990) </li></ul><ul><li>Start Right report (1994) </li></ul><ul><li>Early Learning Goals and the OFSTED </li></ul><ul><li>Baseline assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Curriculum Guidance to the Foundation Stage (2000) </li></ul><ul><li>Every Child Matters (2004) </li></ul><ul><li>Early Years Foundation Stage (2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Robert Owen, McMillans and Susan Isaacs. </li></ul><ul><li>Te Whariki, Reggio Emilia </li></ul>
    3. 3. Limiting factors <ul><li>Relationship between parents and practitioners </li></ul><ul><li>Availability of parents </li></ul><ul><li>Structure of school day </li></ul><ul><li>Nature of learning </li></ul><ul><li>Parents experience of education </li></ul><ul><li>Practitioners skills </li></ul>
    4. 4. Models of partnership <ul><li>Expert </li></ul><ul><li>Transplant </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer </li></ul>
    5. 5. Barriers to partnership <ul><li>Circumstances </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Jargon </li></ul><ul><li>Formality </li></ul><ul><li>Negative attitudes </li></ul><ul><li>Power </li></ul><ul><li>Structural </li></ul><ul><li>Definition </li></ul><ul><li>Discrimination </li></ul>
    6. 6. Barriers to partnership <ul><li>What might some of the barriers be? </li></ul>
    7. 7. What do you think? Most teachers don’t see the point of working with parents. Some parents are just not interested in how their children are doing in school. Working with parents is more trouble than it’s worth! Children achieve better when there is a close partnership between home and school.
    8. 8. Benefits <ul><li>Better informed “… they must rely on what their children do and say to build up a picture of what is happening to them in school” Hughes et al 1994 </li></ul><ul><li>Increased support </li></ul><ul><li>Higher teacher expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Enhanced pupil performance. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Strategies <ul><li>Structure </li></ul><ul><li>Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Listening </li></ul><ul><li>Recognising </li></ul><ul><li>Informing </li></ul><ul><li>Identifying and meeting needs </li></ul><ul><li>Valuing </li></ul><ul><li>Informing </li></ul><ul><li>Recognising </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>Identifying resources </li></ul>
    10. 10. Three-way relationships Parent Practitioner Child

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