Early childhood education can be effective if the effective interaction of teachers, children, students’ family members, and the community occurs. Early childhood education is an important stage of children’s development that is the background for further academic achievements and social success (McCoy et al., 2017). Therefore, it is essential to ensure that all stakeholders understand their roles and contribute to children’s progress. This paper deals with the analysis of the roles the teacher, the parent, and a child care center’s director play in the process as seen by these key players.
Interview I: Teacher
Ms. Smith believes that her major role as a teacher in educating young children is to help them gain important skills they will need in their academic and social life. Teachers help young children to adapt to a new social environment that is often different from that of their home (S. Smith, personal communication, November 20, 2020). Ms. Smith employs diverse teaching practices to develop children academically, socially, and culturally through reading activities, games, and physical activity. At that, families are often involved in classroom events to facilitate the adaptation process. For instance, Ms. Smith invites parents to tell young children about their culture, profession, or simply read a book or play games during some special occasions (Halloween or Christmas-related celebrations).
The interviewee notes that the learning environment can be easily sustained in the center due to the layout of the classroom, available materials, and her teaching skills. At home, this can be harder, but the teacher still tries to provide some assignments and activities to be completed with parents during weekends. The educator uses instant messengers (What’s Up) to update parents on various aspects, provide feedback, give assignments, or invite them for a meeting in person. Communication with parents also occurs on a daily basis in the morning and evening. The community is also involved through people’s assistance in the maintenance of the center’s assets, acquisition of materials, and running special events.
Interview II: Mother
Nicole is the mother of a four-year-old boy, who thinks that her role in educating her child is that of a facilitator. Although she is a working mother, she tries to support her child’s education by reading with her, doing age-appropriate activities, and helping her to interact with others (N. Adams, personal communication, November 21, 2020). Nicole communicates with Ms. Smith regarding her daughter, appropriate activities, ways to help her child, and the center. In order to feel secure, Nicole had visited the center before her child went there. She regularly addresses Ms. Smith regarding various aspects related to children’s safety and wellness. Nicole finds her communication with Ms. Smith effective as she receives all the materials (books, internet links to helpful resources) and the information she needs. Nicole participated in the center’s playground improvement and was a guest reader, and she enjoyed that experience. Communication via What’s Up is the most appropriate as it is associated with considerable flexibility.
Interview III: Child Care Center Director
Ms. Jones, the director of the center, believes her role is to create the most appropriate educational environment for children, teachers, and students’ family members. The interviewee states that the center tries to involve parents through the provision of information about child education, materials that can be helpful, and support (H. Jones, personal communication, November 20, 2020). Ms. Jones notes that parents may need emotional support and some guidance, especially during the first months of their child’s education. The interviewee claims that they ensure the availability of diverse resources and training for educators and other members of the staff to support child development. The director states that the center informs parents about regular events at the center, facilitates a learning environment for their children, provides materials (books, internet links, and even workshops) for home learning. The center interacts with the community in different ways, including people’s financial support, people’s involvement in the improvement of the center, community members’ participation in different events at the center, and the provision of training concerning child care and education (workshops, internet links, projects).
Conclusion / Reflection
The three interviewees have quite similar views on the essence and major goals of early childhood education. Moreover, I also have a similar perspective on the matter as I believe all the mentioned stakeholders should interact and collaborate effectively to achieve the highest results. As for academic development, I will try to balance activities to develop all age-appropriate skills (U. S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2020). I will focus on the exploration of the environment to help young learners understand this world.
The interviews drew my attention to the social aspect of childhood education which is often seen as the most important element in terms of early childhood education. Young children and preschoolers, especially those having no siblings, may find it difficult to interact with their peers as they may lack the necessary social skills. For educators, it is critical to help these children develop such skills and become able to collaborate with peers and adults effectively (Teaching Strategies for Early Childhood Education, 2019; “Infant/Toddler Teacher Time Episode 1,” 2020). The involvement of families is another critical point for the proper progress of children (Teaching Strategies for Early Childhood Education, 2018). I will try to engage family members through regular (depending on parents’ and children’s readiness) events (field trips, fairs, and similar events.
Infant/Toddler Teacher Time Episode 1. (2020). Uearly Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center.
McCoy, D. C., Yoshikawa, H., Ziol-Guest, K. M., Duncan, G. J., Schindler, H. S., Magnuson, K., Yang, R., Koepp, A., & Shonkoff, J. P. (2017). Impacts of early childhood education on medium- and long-term educational outcomes. Educational Researcher, 46(8), 474–487.
Teaching Strategies for Early Childhood Education. (2018). Moving beyond the Friday folder—Crafting purposeful partnerships with families [Video]. YouTube.
Teaching Strategies for Early Childhood Education. (2019). Positive relationships—The heart of all teaching [Video]. YouTube.
U. S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2020). Infant and Toddler Explorers: Building STEAM Skills from the Start [Video]. U. S. Department of Health & Human Services.