Sunday, September 15, 2019

A Family Centered Preschool Essay

Several people may ask the question, â€Å"What makes the difference in a family centered preschool? † This paper will help outline the importance of a family centered program versus a preschool that focuses only on the child. The learning of the children in family centered preschools are enhanced due to the focus points not only being on the child, but the family too. Educators can best help children achieve effectively by meeting the nine essential elements(Morrison, 2009). One of those nine elements is to develop a partnership with parents, families, and friends of each child. The focus of this paper is Abraham Maslow’s whole child concept(Maslow, 1954) and helping families resolve issues. This program style helps each child to learn and develop in a more consistent environment and maintaining the goals each family has expressed for their child. Family Centered Preschool As children prepare to enter preschool there are several areas required for educators to effectively address for the child and family to feel comfortable in this new type of environment. A family centered preschool’s goal is to focus on child and family not just the child. The first step in this process is to focus on any attachment issues. Attachment is normal for each child to go through. What makes attachment something important for educators to focus on? Well, it is a lasting emotional relationship that is part of child development and it begins in infancy. This process will continue throughout the child’s lifespan. It is important for early childhood educators and families to work together to recognize and agree on proper goals for the child so that each child attains proper development in this area. When preschool educators focus on providing healthy attachment development this will help each child transition more easily into school. One main goal of educators at this point is not to look down on the families of these children because this will hinder the ability to effectively support the adults in the child’s life. An educator must remain free of judgements and enter each relationship with an opened mind. The educators acts as an extended part of the child’s family remembering that it is not a competition game for the child’s affection. When attachment issues are recognized, very important to sit down with the family and correctly identify issues together. The next step would be to use problem solving techniques to resolve these issues. This could mean a few easy steps such as letting the child watching the parent leave when dropping the child off for preschool or providing the family with community resources such as classes educating the family on appropriately dealing with attachment issues. Setting the family up with an attachment expert would only need to be done if some of these things do not work. For example: a family has adopted the child and the child is not connecting with them. An educator could suggest some of the following: holding the baby more often, holding the bottle verses letting the child hold the bottle if still in bottle feeding stages, bathing with the baby (the skin to skin contact generates closeness), playing face to face games with baby (eye contact is important), and cuddling with the child. These are just a few suggestions that could be provided. Keeping staff well educated in this area and having a readily usable list of outside resources will help ensure the appropriate development of the children in the preschool. Once the attachment issues are resolved the child can move into the next stage of readiness for school which is self-help skills. Self-help skills become an important part of a child’s readiness for school. Educators of kindergarten expect each child to have already developed the skills to accomplish small tasks on their own. The job of the educators of a preschool is to help the child do things for themselves. Knowing how to appropriately teach the skills is very important. How adults respond to this is and to the exploring behavior will determine to some extent the child’s adult behavior(Gonzalez-Mena, 2009). Feeding themselves is one of the beginning lessons of preschool educators. Some families, based on culture, may find this a difficult task. Helping the family to recognize this is an important part of child development and working through the issues together will help to attain the goal of self feeding. Once the baby becomes mobile even bigger issues can arise. The main goal of this stage is to help the families set up a safe place for baby to explore in, after all this is what this stage of development is all about. When children are restricted to extremes, they loose their curiosity, their willingness to take risks, and their drive to be independent of others and do things for themselves(Gonzales-Mena, 2009). Toilet training falls within this category as well. Remembering to honor the values of each family will help to have a more successful result of developing self-help skills. After effectively working through self-help skill development, the next category will be to work on empowerment. Empowerment has a lot to do with issues of power and control. Educators can do a lot to facilitate empowerment and the controls that need to go with it to keep all children safe and secure. The immediate reaction of most adults in power struggle situations is to give lessons on sharing. This is not the appropriate approach. The educator must acknowledge and reflect feelings of both parties rather than to discuss sharing and fairness. To discuss sharing and fairness is null because these lessons have not yet been learned. The situation needs to become the learning guide for all children involved. Rather than create anger and grudges by removing something from one child and giving to the other, feelings on both parties should be acknowledged and then talked through. Explaining what took place and an appropriate reaction to correct the issue provides the child with options to do the right thing verses forcing the child to do the right thing. Other effective tools in dealing with empowerment are giving choices, setting limits, providing the ability for the child to play, and encourage self-help skills. Helping families to understand this simple guide will help alleviate issues at preschool. Families also need to understand providing a safe environment for children to explore in helps counter react power struggles. Allowing children to play outside of preschool with other children will help them achieve good healthy play habits for preschool. This may be the only interaction with other children that a single-child family has to mingle with other children. A suggestion to these families might be to create play groups. The educator could provide the families with tools in creating a schedule for play groups and meeting places. If they are not interested in using families of the preschool provide them with community play groups. Child avenue (http://www. childavenue. com/pages/playgroups_pages/playgroups_national. html) provides such resources to families and it is a nationwide data based tool. After leveling out empowerment issues, prosocial skills are next in line. Prosocial skills involve the skills for each child to learn what is important in life, right from wrong, and anything involving morals or values. This is a very controversial issue within any school whether it is preschool or high school. The best way to promote prosocial skill development is to do the following: model them yourself, explain why you are setting limits, encourage cooperation by finding ways to get children to work and play together, take a problem solving approach when dealing with conflicts, rather than a power stance, avoid punishment as a way of disciplining, do not be overpowering remember to empower instead, avoid using competition to motivate, help children to appreciate the world and people they share it with, give choices, teach children to solve conflicts without violence, and teach children to be peace makers (Gonzalez-Mena, 2009). If families also model these ways to promote prosocial skills the developmental process will be more beneficial. This may involve working closely with families to help them identify strengths and weakness to work on. Providing them with goals and guideline checklist as well as modeling the behaviors when working with the families. This can be a lengthy drawn out process but the results will be worth it all. While working on a successful completion of developing good prosocial skills, it may be necessary to work on self-esteem. Self-esteem is very important to the success of every aspect of life. If an individual perceives themselves in a negative way their accomplishments tend to be very limited. The ability to open the doors of the future depends on the appropriate development of a positive self-esteem. This does not mean an individual has to like everything about themselves, but rather accept themselves the way they are and make changes to the things they do not like. The serenity prayer is one passage that comes to mind when talking about self-esteem.

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