Do You Partner with Families?
You may be thinking, “Partnering with families, don’t you mean partnering
with parents?” I mean both. Parents typically refers to biological or adoptive
adults who are legally responsible for a child. A guardian or foster parent may
also be legally responsible for a child. But children may also have grand-
parents, neighbors, babysitters, or even adult siblings who play an important
role in guiding and caring for the child. Those people who invest time in
the lives of a child are also that child’s family. It’s great when young children
have many people who love and care for them. So our responsibility as early
childhood professionals is to know and work with all the people who take the
children to the program, pick them up, attend program events, or spend time
with them. For example, you may meet the parents of a child when he enrolls
but see the neighbor every day because she drops off the child and picks him
up. You need to know the parents and the neighbor—that’s the family you are
partnering with. Make sense?
For those adults who are not legally responsible for the child, make sure
you have completed, written forms that give consent for them to drop off and
pick up the child, spend time in the school, and learn information about the
child and the program. Without written permission, you may never give out
any information about the child or the program or release the child to the
adult, even if the child knows the person and wants to go with them.