April 19, 2024

Investing in Relationships with Families

To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves – there lies the great, singular power of self-respect.
– Joan Didion (1935 -2021), American writer, journalist

“Rigorous evidence has shown that when families and schools have strong relationships, children win: They are more likely to stay in school, graduate, and do well academically as well as socially,” declares Rebecca Winthrop in her article on the Brookings website.

And from the introduction to an Exchange video series on partnering with families:

“Building relationships with families is an ongoing process that takes time and energy and is deeply worth the investment.”

In one of the video clips, early childhood director Zaina Keenan says, “We have an intake interview for families when their child enrolls. We ask them about what cultural traditions and holidays they celebrate, so we as educators have a general understanding of what’s important to families.”

In another clip, Elmira Baghdaserians, professor of child development, talks about how important it is for teachers to help every child and every family feel valued and affirmed for who they are, and how grateful she is to have those kinds of teachers for her child. She explains that, “having been an immigrant, coming to America…not knowing any English and feeling ashamed of who I was, it really makes me genuinely happy to know that my child can have a different experience, that he can feel good about who he is rather than ashamed or excluded.”


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