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Parents as partners

Introduction

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In this unit we look at the notion of parents as partners. We identify a cluster of reasons why partnership is considered important – for children, parents and practitioners – and give examples of ways in which it can be interpreted in practice. We also outline a conceptual framework to accommodate the possible range of parental involvement and partnership practice.

Parental involvement practice is usually conceptualized and specified by professionals. As a result, it is necessary for practitioners to be open and receptive to feedback and suggestions both from parents and children. Some parents, for reasons that may not be apparent to practitioners, are reluctant to become involved in their children's care and education; others may choose not to become involved. Practitioners need to be aware of parents' feelings, and to be cautious about blaming them for what seems to be a lack of interest.

As we show throughout this unit, partnership can take many forms. We discuss how while projects and special initiatives that encourage parental involvement can be exciting and stimulating, they can also be short lived and heavily reliant on the provision of extra funds. The unit underlines how partnership needs to be a way of life that becomes embedded in the ongoing day-to-day exchanges that take place between parents, practitioners and children.

This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course The early years: developing practice (E100). [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

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