Family Involvement In Early Education Education Essay

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The purpose of this research paper is to examine the effects family involvement has on the success of children and the ways families can get involved in their child's education.

My literature reviews defines family involvement is when families get personally involved in education, their children do better in schools, get better grades, and grow up to be successful in life. "Family involvement is one of the most overlooked aspects of American education. Today, many programs are designed without recognition of the role of families, and consequently many families remain unaware of the significance that their role can have on their child's education" (NASA, 2009). Family involvement means that families work together with care givers and teachers to create an atmosphere that strengthens learning both at the program and in the home.

Family involvement is an important component of the United Sates of America educational programs. The purpose of the family involvement component is to engage families as partners in the educational process. Family involvement programs was developed to give families, regardless of their own educational experience, the tools needed to become more actively involved in their child's day-to-day education (Knopf & Swick 2008).

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"Significant research over at least 25 years has demonstrated that "family involvement is critical to the educational success of children" (Bricker & Casuso). To give more detail on the findings: "When schools acknowledge the relevance of children's homes and cultures and promote family involvement, they can develop a supportive environment for learning through meaningful activities that engage and empower families" (Bricker & Casuso, 1979). As our schools and programs become more diverse, that relevance of home and culture takes on greater importance and expands teacher's responsibilities for collaboration with families.

Families can get more involved with their child's education by, talking with their children, enhancing their child's self esteem, modeling social and educational aspirations and values and monitoring out of school activities (supervising homework etc.)(Battle, 2004). Activities parents can be more involved at school consists of: attending events, such as open house and school fairs, working in the school in support teachers such as helping with activities in the classroom, on trips and with sport activities, assisting with the governance of the school and meeting with teachers to discuss their children's progress are all ways parents can get more involved with their child education while in school (Battle, 2004).

I have seen a lack of parental involvement in Head Start due to lack of communication. I have volunteered for Head Start every since my son went there in 2006. I am a former parent and I have done four internships there. I have done two for Social Work and two for Early Childhood. Most families I have talked to use work, or they do not get grades or I am too tired to sit with those bad kids as an excuse but I try to let them know that if they don't get involved in their child education now they will regret it in the long run.

When I lived in Chicago I went to a Head Start program called the Child Parent Center (CPC). My mom worked nights and had three other children to take care of. She made it her job to volunteer at my school at least three days a week. She assisted the teachers, she was even the President of the PTA. My mom got involved in what I was learning because she was a concerned parent. Parents today are not concerned about their child's education.

Parents who are involved in their child's education develop more confidence in the school, and about helping their children learn at home and often enroll in continuing education to advance their own schooling (Measuring Up, 1999). Parents tend to be less involved in their child's education as their child get older. The United States Department of Education found that nationwide, as children grow older contacts between families and schools decline both in number and in the positive nature of such contacts. Although 52 percent of interactions are positive and 20 percent are negative in the first grade, by seventh grade positive contacts drop to 36 percent and negative increase to 33 percent (Measuring Up, 1999).

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"The importance of family involvement is the environmental, social, and economic factors have the most powerful effect on student performance. The greatest factor of a child underachieving in school is growing up in poverty, inadequate learning opportunities, and exposure to drugs, lack of after school care, dysfunctional families, and inadequate health care, run down schools, neighborhood distress, few role models, poor nutrition and teen pregnancy" (Measuring Up, 1999). Parents cannot always change these factors; they can always have great influence over many of these challenges.

"Epstein defines a school, family and community partnership as an approach that gives families and community member's greater opportunities to determine options for school involvement, to participate in the wide range of involvement activities, and to assume key role and responsibilities in school-improvement efforts, including participation in the school's decision-making processes. If a partnership is to succeed, it must be based on "mutual trust and respect, an ongoing exchange of information, agreement on goals and strategies, and sharing of rights and responsibilities. Schools must be willing to involve parents, families, and communities at deeper levels and to support their participation" (Epstein 2002).

Epstein six types of involvement consist of:

Type1: Parenting: Assist families establish home environments to support children as students.

Type 2: Communicating: Implement effective home to school and school to home communication practices.

Type 3: Volunteering: Encourage families as volunteers in a variety of ways.

Type 4: Learning At Home: Involve families in supporting learning activities at home.

Type 5: Decision making: Include parents in school; decisions, developing parent leaders and representatives.

Type 6: Collaborating With the Community: Coordinate resources and services from the community to strengthen school programs, family practices and student learning development.

The problem with families not being involved in their child's education is laziness. A lot of younger generation parents have too many excuses on why they can and cannot get involved. The most common one is transportation problems. If you can get a ride to go clubbing on Friday and Saturday you can get a ride to visit your child Monday thru Thursday for a couple of hours.

Majority of the younger generation families just don't care. Their children are being raised by a grandmother, aunt or a caregiver. They do not understand how critical parental involvement is and the effects it has on a child. From my own personal observations parents just do not understand why they need to get involved. It is my job as a professional student to address these concerns to all parents young or old.

"Teachers are very frustrated trying to involve parents and getting little to no response. Teachers complain that parents do not come to conferences or school open houses, check homework, or answer take home notes. This leads teachers to feel that parents just do not care about their child's education" (Brown, 1989). There are many reasons to consider why parents do not get involved. For many parents, a major obstacle to getting involved is lack of time. Working parents are often unable to attend school events during the day (Brown, 1989). Evenings are more convenient and the only time they can be involved. Parents rather spend that time with family than be at an open house, which is understandable.

"Parental involvement during prekindergarten can promote children's school readiness and is associated with higher academic achievement and fewer behavior problems through adolescents, at least in low income families" (Basile & Henry, 1996). It can also lead to greater parental involvement in elementary school, which is associated with higher achievement for children of all socioeconomic backgrounds (Basile & Henry 1996). When families do not get involved in their children's education they are more at risk of being exposed to drugs and alcohol, teen pregnancy and inadequate learning opportunities. The benefits of families who get involved in their child's education their child will get better grades, better attendance, and higher graduation rates, less or no drug or alcohol use, better self-esteem, and less violent.

Parental involvement is important because it improves cognitive and social development in early years of education." Evidence indicates that parental involvement continues to have a significant effect on achievement into adolescence even adulthood. A survey in 2007 has found a variation in levels of parental involvement among different ethnic groups. African American parents are more than twice as likely as White parents to say they felt very involved in their child's education. Parents from non-White ethnic backgrounds are more involved in their child's school activities (including homework). Parents from non-White backgrounds are also less likely to say that a child's education is the school responsibility rather than the parents (17% of African American and Asian parents compared to 27% of White parents said that it was the school responsibility)" (Harris & Goodall, 2007).

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"Parental involvement is easy as pie says McReynolds she came up with the pie program based on research and many years in the classroom. McReynolds states family involvement is a critical part of high quality education, a safe and disciplined learning environment, and student achievement. McReynolds' PIE program actively pursues and involves parents as true and equal partners. She offers them five ways in which they can become involved.

Decision making. McReynolds encourages parents to set goals for their children and for the teacher -- goals that reach beyond those goals she has already set. The goals are stated at the start of the school year in a contract between parents, teachers, and students. That contract lists everyone's responsibilities and is signed by each of the participants. A parent is free to add to the contract specific goals for their child. "The goal of the contract is a very simple one: Helping children to learn," says McReynolds. "The contract is a tool to meet that end. It can change from year to year -- and even sometimes from child to child. If parents feel a need, we do whatever we have to do to meet that need as long as it helps the child learn."

Supporting. "Parents support their children in many ways," McReynolds says. "They provide shelter, food, clothing, protection, and love. They also need to support the work that goes on in the classroom." McReynolds shares with parents the research that supports the need for their involvement in their children's education at home and at school. Showing children that school is important can be done in many ways, and McReynolds offers parents many options and tools for doing that. Her next goal is to establish a "parent library," a place in the school where parents can find and check out materials that will help them to help their children learn.

Teaching. "Parents are teachers too," says McReynolds, adding, "Let's face it, children learned a huge amount from their parents before they even entered school. And a parent's role as 'teacher' doesn't end when the child enters school." McReynolds points to a number of ways in which "teaching" continues to be a parent's responsibility and part of a parent's daily routine. Providing time and a place for doing homework, reading with a child, making sure homework is understood and finished, talking about what is being done at school, and continuing to learn how to help are just a few of the ways in which parents "teach." In addition, parents can get actively involved in the classroom as volunteer tutors, as lecturers sharing their own expertise, and in many other ways. Last year, McReynolds says, a small group of parents got kids interested in participating in the Valentines for Veterans program. "That was just one example of a wonderful learning experience that came directly from parental involvement and it was proof that 'If it's important, parents will help to get it done,'" says McReynolds. "Kids got to see their parents in action and, more importantly, they got to see themselves as contributors to the larger community."

Learning. "The more parents learn, the more they are able to help a child learn," McReynolds says. "That means getting actively involved in finding out what is being taught, how it is taught, and how children learn and develop." Parents can take classes (offered through adult education programs, community colleges, etc.) on their own to demonstrate to their children how important learning is. Or they can take classes with their children; computer classes or hobby classes are two possibilities. McReynolds offers additional help and suggestions. She provides ideas for field trips that parents and children can take together to support classroom learning. And she holds a monthly in-service session for parents. In one recent session she focused on the children's math curriculum. The session's goal was to familiarize parents with the curriculum and to relieve the parents' anxiety about it. Other sessions have included a science fair preparation night (where McReynolds familiarizes parents with the "scientific method" through a fun airplane-making family activity); a session that explains the school grading system; and a field trip to a dinosaur exhibit at a nearby museum.

Communicating. An open-door policy allows parents to come into the classroom at any time. In addition, McReynolds offers regular communication through two newsletters. Those newsletters include information about the concepts that are being taught, how those concepts can be reinforced and practiced at home, a schedule of after-school help sessions, and news about a special citizenship program in which kids earn points for positive behaviors. The newsletters also include news of upcoming in-service sessions and special projects parents might want to get involved in.

"Parental involvement programs, if they are to be effective, must include parents in all aspects of a child's education," "Parents must be involved as teachers, learners, supporters, and advocates for their children" (Hopkins, 2004). Families can get involved in their child's education by just overseeing their child's homework (time), Limiting time spent watching T.V., Providing support for educators and taking advantage of opportunities to become more involved with school administrations and policy development.

Suggestion for teachers to get parents involved is to help parents understand why it is so important to their children school success. Give parents specific thing they can do to be involved. Take time to assess current practices in your school before embarking on a program for parental involvement. Develop a long term plan for a parent that includes evaluations of their child's success. Teachers need to communicate with parents and encourage parents to provide inputs on policies that affect the education of their children.

1) Teacher's need parent's help! Teachers are over worked and overwhelmed and in need of our help. Even if it is the smallest amount of help. 2) All parents should volunteer at least five times in a school year. 3) Parents also need to know school is a learning environment and not a day care. Parents need to remember even when their children are at school they are still your children, take responsibility in their education. 4) The more parents volunteer, the more educated you are about what is going on in the school. Parents should be an example to their children, show them the importance of education through your actions, not just your words. 5) Kids copy what they see you do, show your children how important it is to be involved parent by being one yourself. 6) All parents should know the old saying "It is better to give than to receive". Giving always feel good. 7) Majority of the schools budgets are being cut, as parents we can help schools save money by donating our time, talent and treasures. 8) Parental involvement also gives you the opportunity to voice your opinions on school matters. Who said it is better to be seen and not heard? 9) With all the violence in school today being an involved parent will allow you to keep up with the issues and problems. Parents need to keep their ears and eyes open while at school and you will be surprised at what you will find out. 10) Lastly, parent need to know that their children are only young once. Do not miss out on the opportunity to create memories that will last a forever. Children will not remember that toy you gave them but they will remember all those times you became involved in their education.

In conclusion, the most important person in parental involvement is the child. Anything that the parent can do to assist their child is worth it all. Special importance should be on producing ways of helping children, families, and schools work together to supply students with the advantages to put their best efforts forward. It is very clear that parental involvement is very profitable to a child learning environment.