A child develops within a context of systems of relationships that make up his or her environment. According to Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory, there are various levels of environment and each level affects the child's development (Rosa & Tudge, 2013). These levels include the immediate family and community's input in child development and the societal landscape. Partnerships have to be created between the various levels of the ecosystem to strengthen child development such as parent/teacher or caregiver partnerships in early childhood development or at school. However, there are barriers to effective parent/teacher or caregiver partnerships but also exists ways of overcoming the obstacles.
Some of the common obstacles include lack of time and resources among the parents. From the video, caregiver's services are expensive for low majority income earning parents, and this makes them consider other options of developing their children in lesser supporting ecosystems. Lack of time impedes parent/teacher or caregiver partnerships as the parents do not get time to visit the school or caregiver's home to interact with the teacher/caregiver and the child. Also, other barriers include lack of parent's comfort and poor communication between parent and teacher or caregiver's (Garbacz et al., 2017). Some parents feel intimidated, unwelcomed or unfamiliar with school the school environment and culture or caregivers place and choose to avoid contact with those places. In other instances, there exists a poor communication link between the parent and the teacher/caregiver which impedes the establishment of a good parent/teacher or caregiver's relationship and creates tension.
Nevertheless, there are some ways in which teachers/caregivers can support families in overcoming these barriers and increase parent involvement in child development. According to Murray et al. (2014), regular parent invitations and establishment of good communication channels could increase parent involvement. For example, I have personally experienced a school in which during term opening, the teachers send welcoming greetings to the students and parents. Parents accompany their children to the school where an opening meeting among parents, educators, and students is convened to put everything in order. The teachers also maintain regular phone call communications with the parents where they advise them to visit the school during any free time they have. These strategies work well to eliminate common barriers such as time, communication and unfamiliarity among some parents with the school, and thus encouraging parent involvement in child development.
Garbacz, S. A., Zerr, A. A., Dishion, T. J., Seeley, J. R., & Stormshak, E. (2017). Parent Educational Involvement in Middle School: Longitudinal Influences on Student Outcomes. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 0272431616687670.
Murray, K. W., Finigan-Carr, N., Jones, V., Copeland-Linder, N., Haynie, D. L., & Cheng, T. L. (2014). Barriers and facilitators to school-based parent involvement for parents of urban public middle school students. SAGE open, 4(4), 2158244014558030.
Rosa, E. M., & Tudge, J. (2013). Urie Bronfenbrenner's theory of human development: Its evolution from ecology to bioecology. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 5(4), 243-258.
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