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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET Five Principles of Family-Centered Care some existing channels for receiving informa- tion from families, including daily check-ins and child information forms. Achieving two- way dialogue in every form of communication requires support on several levels. It calls for both communication skills and systems that cre- ate time and space for that communication to happen. For example, teachers need training in two-way communication strategies so that they will have the skills to communicate. They also need logistical support: time in their schedules, a place to meet, or a computer to write a news- letter, for example. This requires administrative support, such as paid time for planning and implementing interactive family conferences, meetings, and home visits and adequate class- room staffing so that informal conversation can happen regularly with families. What ways of inviting families to share in- formation with you ended up on your list? Information forms? Daily check-ins? Home vis- its? Parent conferences? Parent meetings? Bul- letin boards? Interactive journals? Newsletters? Informal notes or texts? E-mail? Phone calls? Throughout this book, you will find many ideas developed by teachers and programs. These ideas are meant to encourage you to discover how best to open up two-way communication with families in your program. Two-Way Communication List all the ways you can receive information (both in written form and orally) from fami- lies. Is there information about children and families that you would like to have but are not receiving right now? What kind of infor- mation would you like to have? Think of some ways to create more two-way communication with families. Discuss your answers with co- workers or other students. Sharing Power and Decision Making What does it mean to share power and decision making? It might mean that a teacher and par- ent decide together when a child should start weaning from the pacifier or how to help a child who has become afraid of the neighbor- hood garbage truck. Shared power and deci- sion making might mean that several parents sit on an advisory board that makes policy and personnel decisions for the school. Shared de- cision making means different things in dif- ferent programs, but in all cases the emphasis should be on shared. This means that certain de- cisions are made with input from both families and teachers. For example, I experienced a surprising ex- ample of shared power and decision making when I accompanied my son on his first day in college. I eagerly attended the parent orien- tation speeches before classes began and was surprised and impressed when the president of the college said, “When your son or daughter leaves this college, I expect that he or she will be changed in a significant way. I expect, also, that our institution will be changed in a significant way from having had your child and family in our college.” Some teachers feel intimidated by the con- cepts of parent empowerment and shared deci- sion making. But when families contribute their ideas, expectations, and abilities to the schools, teachers are able to see how the link with fami­ lies enriches rather than interferes with the classroom (Edwards, Gandini, and Forman 2011). Still, shared decision making may be worrisome if you have visions of parents taking over the classroom and demanding special treatment for their children. These fears are based on the as- sumption that parents will be making all the de- cisions for your programs without input from COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 21