Early Experiences With Family Involvement: Strategies for Success and Practices That Make a Difference

Early Experiences With Family Involvement: Strategies for Success and Practices That Make a Difference

Jade Burris (West Chester University of Pennsylvania, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3943-8.ch003

Abstract

This chapter reviews the impact early experiences with family involvement have on young children and their families, early childhood programs, and teachers. The author discusses the growing demand for early childhood services, characterized by a growing and changing society. There is discussion of developmentally appropriate practices and the ethical conduct of early childhood teachers as they navigate issues of social justice related to family involvement and engagement. The author presents findings from a recent pilot study to illustrate the successes and challenges experienced by eight diverse early childhood programs as they reflected on their family involvement practices. The author also emphasizes the importance of promoting equity and celebrating diversity through family involvement practices including examples, successes, and challenges that may arise.
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Essential Questions

  • What is family involvement and why is it important in the early years?

  • Using Epstein’s Six Types of Family Involvement as a framework, what effective practices were the pilot childcare programs using and where did they encounter challenges as they engaged diverse families?

  • To what extent were the childcare programs’ practices to involve families equitable?

While "caring about" conveys feelings of concern for one's state of being, "caring for" is active engagement in doing something to positively affect it.

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Background

Families are a critical contributor in shaping their children’s values on power and privilege across gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, and language (Bullard, 2014; Hyland, 2010). At its core, family involvement refers to the proactive engagement of families in various activities that aim to promote the learning and development of their child (ren) (Fantuzzo, Tighe, & Childs, 2000). Also referred to as parent involvement, parent engagement, and family engagement, it is regarded as an important element of effective education and has been for more than 40 years (Horby & Lafaele, 2011).

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