In a broad sense, parental involvement can be understood as the family’s participation in different aspects of their child’s development and education. The first strategy that I can share with parents to support family involvement at home is teaching them about the proper organization of home-based play activities. Within the frame of the strategy, I can help families to find and access reliable resources explaining the developmental benefits of playing with parents. Among them is better attachment, communication skills, early acquisition of moral values/norms of communication, adaptation to different social environments, etc. (Better Brains for Babies, n.d.; Hoglund et al., 2015). Next, families can be educated on the selection of age-appropriate toys to be used at home and the creation of safe environments for playing at home (Better Brains for Babies, n.d.). The dissemination of this knowledge would help to support family involvement at home by making sure that parents are fully aware of their opportunities to support children’s development through spending time together and playing with children.
The second strategy to empower parents to support children’s development at home is to communicate research and recommendations regarding discipline strategies to families. Supporting families’ attempts to build strong parent-child relationships can be listed among the key goals in family engagement, and the selected strategy supports this goal (MSDE Early Childhood Development, 2016). Parents should know that some popular discipline methods (for instance, simplistic strategies based on rewards and/or punishments) are regarded by subject matter experts as outdated and leading to aggression and emotional withdrawal in children (Couchenour & Chrisman, 2013). Families need to stay updated on the negative effects of the most common forms of physical punishment, such as spanking, on children’s behaviors and emotional well-being (Couchenour & Chrisman, 2013). Thus, they will be able to make proper disciplining decisions at home and support children’s learning and development.
To meet the expectations of students’ families and the managers of schools and daycare centers, early childhood educators are supposed to develop professionalism. One disposition that I would like to focus on relates to curiosity and highlights educators’ ability to “promote and support curiosity and encourage active inquiry” in learners (Grand Canyon University, 2018, p. 3). The selected disposition is important for professionalism in childhood education since fostering curiosity in young learners can help prime the child’s brain for knowledge acquisition and learning. The ability to encourage curiosity makes one a professional teacher by enabling this person to motivate students and arouse the thirst for knowledge, thus achieving the main purpose of the profession. Moreover, by “stimulating students to think creatively,” teachers manage to prepare students for dealing with difficult real-life cases and, probably, unstable situations (Fiechtner, 2016; GCU, 2018, p. 3). It promotes professionalism by allowing educators to encourage creative self-expression in students.
In my future classroom, I am planning to adhere to the selected disposition by researching age-appropriate ways to foster creative thinking and offering such opportunities to children. For instance, after explaining certain concepts to students, I will introduce challenging higher-order questions to stimulate thinking and encourage children to see unobvious connections between the previously learned concepts and see the variety of theoretical concepts’ real-life applications. Next, I will emphasize classroom activities that stimulate imagination and thinking outside of the box, including creative role plays, tasks that involve searching for unobvious similarities between seemingly unrelated objects, the “what if” game, art projects, and other opportunities for the development of creative thinking. Additionally, to motivate students to engage in exploration, I will provide them with emotional support when seeing their interest in specific fields of study and encourage their parents to recognize children’s talents and contribute to their development.
Better Brains for Babies. (n.d.). What children need for play. Web.
Couchenour, D., & Chrisman, K. (2013). Families, schools, and communities: Together for young children (5th ed.). Cengage Learning.
Fiechtner, J. (2016). Helping children cope with stress. Community Playthings. Web.
Grand Canyon University. (2018). Professional dispositions of learners. Web.
Hoglund, W. L., Jones, S. M., Brown, J. L., & Aber, J. L. (2015). The evocative influence of child academic and social-emotional adjustment on parent involvement in inner-city schools. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(2), 517-532. Web.
MSDE Early Childhood Development. (2016). Family engagement [Video]. Web.