Principle 2

Principle 2

Partnerships with families and communities help early childhood settings to best meet the needs of young children.

What the Experts say

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  • Family and community form the foundation for a child's early development. Families know their children best, and are the first and most powerful influence on learning and development.
  • The needs of each child should be considered in the context of their family composition, values, culture, and language. This approach enriches relationships between early childhood settings, families, and their communities.
  • Involving parents and other important adults in activities connects them to their children's early development, and enhances the child's learning.
  • Children in early childhood settings benefit when they interact with local environments and community members are part of their daily experiences.

Principles Into Practice

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Thinking of your own everyday experiences and practices, consider these strategies:

  • Maintain a positive, welcoming climate, where all family perspectives are encouraged, valued and heard.
  • Arrange the physical environment so that family members are comfortable and “at home” (e.g. display photos of family members, provide books and materials representing children's culture and first language).
  • Initiate conversations with family members about their children's learning and emerging skills, both at home and in the program. Share information about children's experiences and learning, and encourage parents to contribute to your understanding.
  • Discuss how child's play demonstrates learning and development, and share ways that this learning can be extended at home.
  • Support families with parenting challenges, working through situations together.
  • Describe your planning process to families, and encourage their suggestions and involvement.
  • Find creative ways to connect with families who can't visit the program.
  • Connect families with each other and with community partners, to help create supportive social networks.
  • Local partnerships can enhance children's connection to their community. Consider how you can use these strategies in your work.
  • Connect the children to community life by taking field trips and regularly inviting community members to visit the program.
  • Find ways for children to make contributions to the community (for example by donating their art to a local hospital).
  • Work with schools and local family and children's service organizations (e.g. settlement services, physical health, mental health and developmental services) to integrate experiences, support transitions and create shared responsibility for children and families.
  • Get involved with other early learning and care organizations in your community (e.g. Best Start Networks, professional resource programs, early childhood associations).

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