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Team Roles in an Early Childhood Setting 23
Give families multiple ways to understand their child’s day,
whether by printed newsletter, report of the day, photos or anec-
dotes about their child’s day, or classroom blog.
Never undermine the child-family relationship—even if you dis-
agree with their caregiving choices. While you spend many hours
of the week with your students, no teacher can take the place of
children’s relationships with their families.
Notice and celebrate families for the ways in which they support
their children’s growth and development.
Help your team reframe difficult situations that come up and
avoid judging, personalizing, or interpreting families’ decisions
or behaviors in a negative light. This will help your team create a
more positive work environment and help strengthen the bond
between home and school.
To learn and be at their best, the children in your care must first trust you.
One step to building trust with children is for their families to demonstrate
trust in you and the program. If family involvement or healthy relationships
with families are impossible for some reason, it’s still important to respect
children’s bonds with their families. Children are sensitive, intuitive beings,
dependent on adults for their survival. They can perceive tension and judg-
ment but cannot make sense of it. Part of making a safe space for children to
learn is creating an environment free of assumptions, especially regarding
their families. Regardless of what you think of family decision making, your
role as an educator and a caregiver is to protect children from emotional harm
and support their development.
Too often, teachers engage in a subtle form of negativity in which they do
not value the role of families or they judge family choices. While not all family
members are as skilled with children as early childhood teachers are, a more
productive strategy is to view family members as developing individuals, sim-
ilar to the children (Riley et al. 2008).
It is the challenging families in school communities who often need the
teachers’ patient support. When you view family members as developing in
their roles, you can offer research and experientially based strategies to sup-
port their growth. You would certainly not expect a novice in any other role to
be proficient at it; the same should be true for child rearing. There are no pre-
requisites for raising children. Meanwhile, early childhood educators do in fact
have special training to teach children or years of experience working with
children. Remembering that you are the first and best resource to support
families in their work as caregivers will help you develop compassion and