|YOUNG CHILDREN | November 2013|
|Book Clubs Strengthen Family-Teacher Partnerships and Build Community|
|by Lorraine DeJong and Meredith W. Burton|
“Mrs. Burton!” cried Mary, mother of 5-year-old Alex, as she approached me in the Child Development Center. I was getting ready to leave for the day, but she had big questions: “When will Alex read fluently?,” “What can I do to captivate his interest in learning?,” and “Why doesn’t he listen to me when I ask him to do something?”
“Wow,” I thought. “Each of these topics could take a semester to discuss.” As I listened to the intensity and the longing in Mary’s voice, I realized that she needed some reassurance that she was a good parent and that her son was going to be just fine. I could tell her not to worry, but I was just one voice. Instead, I invited her to attend our parent–teacher book club meeting next week, even if she hadn’t read the book.
Mary attended the meeting. Everyone talked freely about their concerns as parents, and they referred to passages in the selected book that really spoke to them. As the meeting continued, the group validated Mary’s feelings and opinions, and she relaxed and enjoyed the discussion. I smiled, knowing she would be back.
The importance of strong family–teacher partnerships and the power of communities to positively influence child growth and development are values that unite us all in early childhood education. One strategy early childhood programs can adopt that strengthens family–teacher relationships and helps develop a community of learners in which all will flourish is a parent–teacher book club .... Continue reading
About the Authors
Lorraine DeJong, PhD, is an associate professor of education and the coordinator of early childhood education at Furman University, in Greenville, South Carolina. Lorraine has more than 20 years of experience developing programs and initiatives for families in early childhood classroom settings. firstname.lastname@example.org
Meredith W. Burton, MA,is the director of the Furman University Child Development Center (CDC) and the president-elect of the South Carolina AEYC. Meredith developed the parent–teacher book club at Furman University CDC as a family-engagement tool and a method of professional development for herself and her staff.Kasondra serves as a coach, mentor, and college instructor. email@example.com