Involving Parents in their Children

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Involving Parents in their Children

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1. Involving Parents in their Children?s Learning: Listening to Parents Dr Margy Whalley Monday 5th January 2009 25 years of developing practice at the Pen Green Centre for Children and their Families

2. Pen Green Centre for Children and their Families ? In every small community there should be a service for children and their families. This service should honour the needs of young children and celebrate their existence. It should also support families, however, they are constituted within the community? Pen Green 1983

3. Pen Green Centre for Children and their Families Early Years Education Extended hours, extended year provision to support children and families Inclusive, flexible, education with care for children in need and children with special educational needs Adult community education Family support services A Focus for voluntary work and community regeneration Professional Development and Support for early years services and Primary practitioners and leaders Practitioner Research

4. A Centre with Comprehensive Provision for Young Children and their Families Pen Green Nursery School Provision for children 2-5yrs Pen Green Baby Nest Baby and Toddler Provision 1-3yrs Nurture Group For vulnerable children from 1-3yrs Creche Provision For 100+ children a week 0-5yrs Childminder Network for children from 0 After school services and holiday play schemes for all local children from 4 - 11 Parent - Infant Support Groups including Growing Together groups, Infant and Toddler massage sessions, groups for parents with adult mental health issues, drop-in community groups, adult learning groups

5. The Baby Nest

6. The Discovery Area The Snoezelen Extended Provision ? across centre

7. 2008 Nursery Schools, Childrens Centres and Extended Schools engaging with parents - the government?s perspective. attack poverty equalize the cognitive stimulus received by children in their early years Esping-Anderson Feinstein Blanden ensure children receive the emotional support they need from the important adults in their lives The Primary Review ? Children, their world, their education 2007 UNICEF 2007 ?a double-barrelled strategy? ?a win ? win approach?

8. Nursery schools, children?s centres and extended schools can support parents as their child?s first and enduring educators through: exemplifying good practice providing information about current research offering appropriate parent education and professional support helping parents to develop and sustain their sense of self-esteem and self efficacy - Athey 1990 - Shaw 1991 - Easen 1992 - Ball 1994 - Meade 1995 - Chrispeels 1996 - OECD 1997

9. A principled approach eschew - pragmatism - eclecticism - rhetoric equal and active partnership recognizing parents own ?proper competencies? acknowledging parent?s deep commitment to their children?s learning and development

10. Pen Green: A Centre with a strong value base Parents and children both have rights Being a parent is a complex and difficult role Parenting is a key concern for both men and women The belief that parents are deeply committed to their children That early years educators need to recognise parents? roles as their child?s first and most consistent educators That we must create a culture of high expectations in our early years centres and services

11. Engaging with parents in Nursery Schools, Children?s Centres and School based settings: Three approaches action for children action for parents action for others (citizenship, community capacity building)

12. 1 Action for children When the focus is on children?s learning and development When parents are encouraged to watch their children?s learning at home and in the setting When parents become actively involved in supporting and extending their child?s learning When parents develop shared dialogue with their children?s early years educators and teachers When parents sustain this commitment over time, working towards qualifications as Early Years educators or becoming increasingly involved in their children?s learning, development and schooling

13. A Centre that encourages children, parents and staff to be all that they can be ??our image of the child is rich in potential, strong, powerful, competent and, most of all, connected to adults and other children.? Loris Malaguzzi

14. Developing evidence-based practice: researching what parents do and building on their strengths Develop an effective dialogue with parents about their children?s learning at home and in the setting Develop a style of working with parents, that empowers rather than de-skills Develop a greater understanding of how parents were encouraging their children to learn at home Compare and contrast the styles that staff and parents adopt when engaging children in learning experiences, and Produce materials to assist parents to get actively involved in recording and understanding their children?s development

15. At Pen Green Parents and Practitioners share knowledge and theoretical frameworks The roles of professional experience and parents? everyday experience are seen as complementary but equally important. The former constitutes a ?public? (and generalised) form of theory about child development, whilst the latter represents a ?personal theory? about the development of a particular child. An interaction between the two theories or ways explaining a child?s actions may produce an enriched understanding as a basis for both to act in relation to the child. Only through the combination of both types of information could a broad and accurate picture be built up of a child?s development progress.? (Easen et al, 1992)

16. Parents and staff share Key Concepts Well-being (Laevers) Involvement (Laevers) Schemas (Athey) Adult Pedagogic Strategies (Whalley & Arnold) Containment (Bion) Holding (Winnicott) Attachment (Bowlby)

17. Nursery schools, children?s centres and extended schools recognize the importance of working with parents as co-educators We know that young children achieve more and are happier when early years educators work together with parents and share ideas about how to support and extend children?s learning (Athey; Meade)

18. What works: Parents as Advocates ?Nothing gets under a parents skin more quickly and more permanently than the illumination of his or her own child?s behaviour. The effect of participation can be profound?. (Athey, 1990, p66)

19. Sharing Observations Filming the children at baby nest, nursery or in groups Keeping a diary Filming the children at home Applying theory to the observations Making portfolios about children?s interests

20. Outcomes Support for children and parents is offered during all critical transitions Staff, parents and children share knowledge and develop a respectful dialogue that supports the children?s development Documentation becomes a tool for sharing information and developing multiple perspectives Parents and workers become more aspirational Workers and parents develop their advocacy skills Early and deep level involvement impacts on the relationships parents have with their child?s educators at nursery and subsequently at school Study groups (action learning sets) are embedded in early childhood settings and local schools Parents undertake adult education, professional development Parents and staff become more reflective and more effective educators

21. Joe

22. So what was it that Joe was exploring? 1:1 correspondence Matching Mental arithmetic Addition; adding to his own pile of cards Subtracting; taking cards from my pile Classifying (Hearts, Diamonds, Spades, Clubs) Measuring; the depth of the cards Counting (accurately to 40 and then to 13) Counting on in 2?s Recognising significant letters, ?J? is for Jack, ?J? is for Joe, ?A? is for Asda Making up his own rules and changing them when he wanted to Enjoyment / self esteem at competing and ?winning? against an adult Humour / teasing / joking How to develop and sustain relationships with adults How to have fun through learning and relationships

23. Joe gains mastery on the computer Joe is typing out the names of the Supermarkets he is familiar with. Joe understands that although the letters on the keyboard are upper case they appear as lower case on the screen. Joe is interested in the font and the font size. He is very confident and competent in using the computer and he is able to send documents to print. Joe is really pleased with himself as he holds up the finished result.

25. Writing letters

27. So what has the pedagogical team (parents and staff) done to support Joe at nursery? Recognised and supported his home learning Created a positive learning environment Listened to what Joe has to say Built on his interests and cognitive concerns Worked together as a pedagogical team to be co-constructors on Joe?s learning Recognised that there needs to be a balance between Joe?s cognition and his personal, social and emotional development Constantly asked ourselves the question not only about Joe but about all the children. ?Do we let you fly?? (Carr, May and Podmore et al, 2002)

28. 2 Action for parents: Listening to parents When the focus is on parent?s need for support and personal development When the focus is on the parent?s own learning (clarify their right for education/training second time around).

29. Developing our theorising Understanding andragogic principles (Malcolm Knowles; Paula Allman) Education is opportunity, it is also a painful memory. To fail to understand the pain of past failures is also to fail to understand working class life. It is essential then to combine both in your curriculum structure and pedagogy (Armstrong, 1986)

30. A Community Development Approach Children?s centres are concerned with children, staff, parents and the wider community ? Developing the individuals capacity to be self directing Helping individuals to gain more control over their lives Raising self-esteem Promoting learning as a lifelong experience Working towards equal opportunities Pushing boundaries Encouraging constructive discontent - not having to put up with things the way they are Encouraging people to feel they have the power to change things Developing self-fulfilment

31. A Community Development Model Parents get involved in supporting their own child?s learning and development Parents engage in adult community education Parents get involved in devising or delivering services for other parents

32. Learning about Children Adult Learning Active Citizenship *Volunteer in the nursery * Writers group * Running after-school club *OU Pre-school Child Group *Assertiveness training * Chair parents group *OU Childhood 5-10 group *Health Choices OU * Parent Manager *Schema study group *All about Eve/Women?s group * Chair Save our Site Action *Contact/conciliation group * School governor * GCSE Sociology English * Group worker * A Level English * Co-Leads a National * Visiting European *Parents as Educators childcare centres conference Building on parent?s strengths ? a community development approach

33. Community Education Opportunities At Pen Green GCSE English or equivalent GCSE Maths or equivalent Introduction to Computing Computer Literacy and IT (CLAIT) Sign Language City and Guilds Stage 1 Creative connections ? overcome barrier to writing Family Literacy/Numeracy Communication Skills Cr?che Workers Course (NOCN) Homestart (NOCN) NVQ in Early Years and Education L2 and L3/ NVQ Playworkers Counselling Skills Course Between ourselves Confident Parents/Confident Children (NOCN) Introducing Childminding Practice Making Choices Sewing/Crafts Group Protective Behaviours Stress and Relaxation Skills for Work/Confidence Building Course Baby Massage (IAIM Certificate) Involving Parents in their Children?s Learning NOCN Parents as Researchers NOCN

34. PhD Early Years Leadership MA Early Years Education with Care Research/Tutorial studies MA Leadership & Management Advanced Module in Leadership & Management Advanced Module in Observation & Assessment Advanced Module in Gropwork Advanced Module in Action Research BA Distanced Learning (LMU) Group tutorials at Pen Green Advanced counselling Training A Level English Psychology GCSE Maths, Psychology Open Learning Courses EYP?s Professional Development and Support NVQ Level 3 Children & Families NVQ3 Playworkers Open University Community Education Courses Open University Access Course ? Living in a Changing Society Massage Training Homestart Training NOCN NVQ Level 2 Children & Families Group Work Training (basic) PEN GREEN AS A LEARNING ORGANISATION Basic Skills funded Numeracy & Literacy Programmes Family Learning Parents Support Groups & Discussion Groups NOCN credit for courses at levels 1 & 2 e.g., Cr?che Work Training, Confident Parents/Confident Children Involving Parents in their Children?s Learning Parents as Researchers

35. 3 Action for others (citizenship) When parents co-ordinate groups and activities that help other people When parents take responsibility for managing and running the services When parents become researchers identifying what is needed and reviewing the quality of what is offered

36. Children?s Centres Challenge Our Professional Practice: A rebalancing of power relationships between citizens & professionals

37. Parents at Pen Green 1983-85 Parents conceptualising services Parents appointing staff Parents as volunteers Parents sharing power 1985-87 Parents as service providers Parents engaged in their own learning 1987-90 Parents as group leaders Parents as community activists

38. Parents at Pen Green 1990-97 Parents as co-educators Parents as paid workers 1997-08 Parents as trouble shooters Parents as policy makers Parents as co-researchers Parents as co-constructors of local and national policy

39. In children?s centres professionals have to engage parents in a different way: ?Othering? Equal and active partnerships

40. In nursery schools, children?s centres and extended schools staff have to develop a dialogue and deepen the dialogue ?Perceive our own ignorance and give up the idea that we are the exclusive owners of truth and knowledge. Identify with others and recognise the fact that ?naming the world? is not the task of an elite. Value the contribution of others and listen to them with humility, respecting the particular view of the world help by different people. Get in touch with how much we need other people and have no fear of being displaced. Be humble; have faith in others and believe in their strengths.? (Paulo Freire 1970:71)

41. Take what people offer and build on it Pride matters: never humiliate; never blame Find reciprocal ways of working Look to your elders for help Insist on complexity If you?re seen as ?trouble? take it as a compliment Seize the day and leave no-one behind Lessons from indigenous peoples

42. Communities Owning Local Services ?Working together everyone and listening? (facs)

43. Turning the curve on parental involvement/engagement A whole community strategic approach to parent involvement must be embedded in children?s centres and extended schools teaching and learning strategies Professionals will need to challenge their own practice and traditional ways of working if they are to develop an equal and active partnership with parents

44. The Challenges: Access for all Parents are not ?hard to reach? ? services are hard to access The 9 families we didn?t engage in the Parents Involvement in their Children?s Learning project The parents who say ?we aren?t the kind of parents who go to baby massage? Those who still find it hard to access children?s centre services: do we even know who they are?

45. Examples of Good Practice: stuff we got right Deep respect for and pleasure in engagement with the important adults in the child?s life and the child (children) The capacity to hold families in mind in a sustained way and to seek them out and follow them up Speed and decisiveness of response Resourceful friendship ? over time Celebrating parent?s right and desire to support transitions and stay and play alongside the child A constructivist and differentiated pedagogical approach ? knowledge sharing and a good match between the pedagogy in the nursery and the pedagogy in the traveller community Shared beliefs about how children learn and develop best A liberal approach to ?risk assessment?

46. Challenges to our practice: Where we created obstacles/barriers to access and joined up working Rigid rules and boundaries ? Absolutes aren?t helpful e.g. the concept of ?full? Great untapped energies of the parents ? what they can offer goes unrecognised or isn?t fully taken up Services may be ?available? but are not easily accessible e.g. laundry A rather rigid and unimaginative response to the parent?s adult learning needs Timely information sharing across agencies didn?t always happen

47. Traveller Advocacy Success for Angela Drury In the case of Angela Drury - v - the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2004] EWCA Civ 2000, Angela, her three children and several other Travellers had been encamped in April 2003 on woodland in the Northamptonshire area owned by the Forestry Commission. The Forestry Commission comes under the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. As is their usual practice, the Forestry Commission took possession action not only seeking possession of the woods in question but also of other woods in a very large radius around the encampment. In this case they sought possession of 30 other areas of woodland in a 20 mile radius. At Northampton District Registry the Order for all the areas of woodland was granted. We appealed against that on the basis that the Civil Procedure Rules for possession actions did riot entitle possession to be granted against areas that were not trespassed upon. The matter went to the Court of Appeal and on 26th February 2004 the Court of Appeal gave their Judgement granting Angela's appeal and quashing the Order as far as it related to the 30 other areas of woodland. Mr Justice Wilson stated: "It follows that the inclusion in a Possession Order of an. area of land owned by the Claimant which has not yet been occupied by the Defendant should be exceptional. Although it would be foolish to be prescriptive about the nature of the necessary evidence, it seems safe to say that it will usually take the form either of an expression of intention to decamp to the other area or of a history of movement between the two areas from which a real danger of repetition can be inferred or?...of such propinquity [proximity] and similarity between the two areas as to command the inference of a real danger of decampment from one to the other". In other words such wide orders can only be made where there is very strong evidence that the Travellers might move to those other areas and you will note that such Orders will be "exceptional". There was insufficient evidence that Angela and the other Travellers would move to the other areas and thus her appeal was granted. Congratulations to Angela. We trust that the Forestry Commission and other land owners will now not normally seek to obtain such wide Possession Orders.

48. Issues of transferability of knowledge and understanding ? Travellers are not a homogenous group Traveller Friendly Services Traveller?s not welcome


50. What real joined up thinking might look like ??avoiding grandiosity

51. Unresolved Stuff Evictions ? huge discontinuities for health and education Water ? electricity ? toilets Transitions ? cross county boundaries, across school phases CPD for all staff Short term ? develop the concept of ?match? Long term ? develop a sustainable approach that?s ?people proofed? Additional resources for traveller children e.g. ICT, different play spaces in nursery and school that honour the needs of the child, different adult spaces and services that honour the needs of adult travellers

52. Dr Margy Whalley Director of Pen Green Research Base Telephone 01536 443435 Fax 01536 463960 Email Website

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