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Everyone benefits when families are involved in their children's learning. These are some ways that early childhood educators become partners with families.
Family members are usually delighted to be asked to share their talents, skills, and interests with young children. Seek out those who are willing to share a traditional recipe or musical recording. Some might demonstrate a skill such as quilting or woodcarving to children. Ask them to read books or play games with the group. Everyone can contribute.
Share information about how and what children are learning in your program and at home, too. Help families appreciate children's scribbles. Explain what children learn when they build with blocks or collect rocks. Demonstrate effective ways to guide children's behavior and develop early reading skills. Encourage reading, shopping, and playing games together.
Maintain a portfolio of children's work and photographs of them at play so families can review children's learning progress with you.
Fill the hallways and walls with exhibits–from toddlers' early scribbles to elaborate scientific investigations. Hold a children's art fair. Ask for exhibit space at a library. As families and the public become more aware of the many ways in which young children learn, their understanding and support for the education of young children grows.