What parent about their cultural heritage as a

What Is Standard
Two?

 According to the National
Association for the Education of Young Children, standard two of their
professional preparation standards means that “candidates prepared in early
childhood degree programs understand that successful early childhood education
depends upon partnerships with children’s families and communities. They know
about, understand, and value the importance and complex characteristics of
children’s families and communities” (NAEYC 1). This standard is probably the
most essential guideline for an early childhood educator to understand. Because
majority of a child’s learning originates outside of school, teachers must take
the opportunity to get to know those who reside in each of their student’s home
environment. Reaching out to these several groups of people is vital in a
child’s academic development progress if a teacher is determined in helping their
classes become successful. Standard two expands onto this idea into three
separate subgroups to help educators further comprehend what kind of influence
families and communities have on students.

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Knowing about and understanding diverse family and
community characteristics

The first subgroup listed under standard two involves knowing
diverse family and community characteristics. College professors Kathy Grant
and Julie Ray state in their 2012 book that “it will be critical that you have
a good understanding of your students’ lives, including factors such as
cultural values, religion, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, home language,
family support, structure, stresses, or relationship” (Grant 62). Making these
several values a priority as an educator further tends to evolve a relationship
with families and communities. For instance, if a teacher has a Mexican student
whose first language is Spanish, they can talk to their parent about their
cultural heritage as a method of incorporating that into the classroom. One excellent
concept could be introducing a lesson to students on Day of the Dead (a Mexican
holiday that celebrates deceased friends and family members) and then allowing
them to decorate fake skulls as a classroom project. This allows the
Spanish-speaking student to feel connected to their heritage and become more
interested in their classwork for the day. It also permits their fellow peers
to learn something new on a different culture that they might not know anything
about.

Supporting and engaging families/communities through respectful, reciprocal
relationships

The second subgroup addresses supporting families and
communities through mutual relationships. This section of the standard
basically signifies that engaging families into their child’s learning by
building a respectful relationship with them causes a teacher to be more
equipped to help their student develop academically. Most parents or guardians are
determined to do everything possible to assist their child in succeeding.
Therefore, it is completely up to the teacher to find a way to politely contact
them. A straightforward solution for doing so is by having an open house during
the beginning of a school year so that a teacher can meet their student’s
influencers face-to-face. If an educator takes this first step to creating an
open line of communication with a student’s family, it makes it that much
easier to comfortably discuss any problems the child may have or other concerns
that the guardian has. In addition, it is prominent for educators to realize
that not every student has any type of support coming from their home
surroundings. Having the ability to motivate their students even more because
of that lack of encouragement is significant in being a supportive and
trustworthy teacher.

Involving families and communities in their children’s development and
learning

Lastly, the third subgroup discusses including family and
communities into their child’s development. As teachers, it is valuable to
recognize that parental involvement is one of the biggest components to a
student’s learning progress. Although things are constantly changing in schools,
one thing that always appears to have a positive effect on a child’s education
is parent engagement. A 2014 National Education Association Today article
declares that “ongoing research shows that family engagement in schools
improves student achievement, reduces absenteeism, and restores parents’
confidence in their children’s education. Students with involved parents or
other caregivers earn higher grades and test scores, have better social skills,
and show improved behavior” (Garcia 1). Considering that children are at home
more than they are in school, there can be multiple things teachers can
recommend parents, extended family, and communities to do to improve a child’s
intellect. From assigning children to read one of their family members a
bedtime story to encouraging parents to assist their child with practicing a
song on alphabets, the opportunities for parents to educate their children are endless.
Even something as simple as a parent or guardian helping a child with a
homework assignment is considered a good contribution to securing academic
success.

Conclusion

Overall, out of all
the standards, I believe that the second one should be a teacher’s prime
concern. Without developing a relationship with a student’s family and/or
community, there are many things a teacher might not be capable of
understanding about the child. This could prove to be an extreme problem in the
classroom since if you cannot understand your own student that you teach almost
every single day, who else will? Not to mention, both parties benefit a lot
from having a respectful teacher/caregiver relationship. However, perhaps the
most important advantage is that the child will have a ton of support coming
from home and school. In short, working together with a student’s family and
community can help them reach their full potential.