CHAPTER 4 – WHAT IS FAMILY INVOLVEMENT?
After reading this chapter, the student should be able to
4-1 Describe what is meant by family involvement.
4-2 Outline a history of family involvement in education.
4-3 List three motivations and models for family involvement.
4-4 Discuss how research on child development and academic achievement influences inclusion of families in their children’s education.
4-5 Describe mandated parent involvement.
4-6 DISCUSS HOW COMMUNITY CONCERN FOR FAMILY SUPPORT MOTIVATES FAMILY INVOLVEMENT IN EDUCATION.
This is the first chapter to begin a consideration of a philosophy of working with parents. The term family involvement is often used to mean different things. This chapter explores each of three distinct motivations for working with families that have evolved in the last two decades of early childhood education. Included in this edition is a consideration of the implications of the parent involvement mandated by No Child Left Behind.
1. Think about what is your current definition of family involvement?
2. Think about how individual teachers and schools generally respond to mandates.
3. Think about why should communities support families? Does such support make a difference?
4. Think about the reasons that Head Start has included a family involvement component from the beginning.
5. Think about what are the advantages and disadvantages of parent cooperative schools—for parents, for teachers, and for children?
6. Think about how to Identify and discuss benefits to having parents involved in creating IEPs and IFSPs.
7. Think about why has family involvement in elementary schools often been merely perfunctory?
8. Think about how to identify reasons that professional organizations are now mandating family involvement.
9. Think about how do children benefit from family involvement in their education?
Answers to Review Questions
Discuss some of the ideas about what constitutes family involvement.
1. Answers will vary.
List some of the ways parents have been involved historically in schools.
2. Answers will vary.
Identify three motivations for parent involvement and the underlying ideas.
3. The three separate forces that are bringing home and school together are:
a. The research on parent involvement that underscores the interdependence of parent, child, and community agencies in providing for the optimum development of children
b. Mandates, enunciated by various laws and funding arrangements, for parents to play a part in the education of their children
c. Community concern and efforts that encourage parent involvement to both improve the schools and strengthen the family, thus eliminating some problems of concern to the community
Discuss examples of how research on parenting influences on child development and academic success motivates those trying to involve families.
4. Research links parental influence on children’s development in many areas, and improvements are shown when parents are taught how to stimulate development.
Discuss several examples of mandated family involvement.
5. When parent participation is required, it is legislated or mandated by professional organizations for accreditation or quality demonstration.
Describe community motivations and efforts to involve families in their children’s education
6. The demographic changes that shake the family, with the resulting social problems created in the community, cause communities to focus on strengthening the family as a means to combat some social ills.
• Intervention-Process of interfering with particular circumstances so as to change them.
• Deficit models-Working from the perspective of being inadequate or inferior.
• Empowerment – Enabling; strengthening.
• Mandate-An authoritative order or command; something that must be done.
• High/Scope Model- Early childhood curriculum based on principle of children as active learners who plan, carry out, and reflect on learning choices during free choice periods and small group teacher led experiences to help children focus on key experiences.
• Family-centered – Focusing on children and parents as a unit, with the parents becoming active in their children’s development—not relating separately to parents and children.
• Find information about the No Child Left Behind legislation at the Department of Education’s website. Also search there to find Family Involvement in Children’s Education: Successful Local Approaches: An Idea Book (Funkhouser & Gonzales, 1997). This idea book is offered to stimulate thinking and discussion about how schools can help overcome barriers to family involvement in their children’s education—regardless of family circumstances or student performance.
• Search the website for the National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools.
• National Network of Partnership Schools has information on their website for schools and organizations regarding the use of research-based approaches to organize and sustain excellent programs of family and community involvement that will increase student success in school.
• Search the Head Start Bureau’s official website for the report on ongoing research for Head Start: “Building Their Futures: How Early Head Start Programs Are Enhancing the Lives of Infants and Toddlers in Low-Income Families.”
• The Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center is a resource with much information about Head Start, including the Program Performance standards.
• The National PTA’s website has information on the national standards for parent–family involvement programs.
• Search the website of the Family Resource Coalition, the nation’s clearinghouse for family support issues.
• At the website for the National Association for the Education of Young Children, you can find the revised accreditation standards, standards for professional preparation, the code of ethics, and the position statement on developmentally appropriate practice.
An understanding of family involvement has evolved through various philosophies and historical traditions in preschool and elementary education. Currently, there are three main reasons to consider ways to involve families in their children’s care and education:
• Research on family involvement as an optimal factor in child development and learning; family engagement in schools and patterns of communication with their children all correlate with positive results.
• Mandates from government and professional associations, such as recent legislation and accreditation standards.
• Community concern and collaboration for family support programs. The need for strong families has caused communities to create agencies on the state and local level to support parents and their children in many ways.
Articles to assist you
How Parent Involvement Leads to Student Success
Six Types of Family Involvement Every School Should Consider
Understanding Family Involvement
The Impact of Family Involvement On The Education of Children Ages 3 to 8
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