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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Parent Perspectives

On our 10 year journey into the world of emergent / responsive / Reggio-inspired curriculum with the guidance of our colleagues at Hilltop Children's Centre, London Bridge Children's Centres and Ann Pelo we have have changed so many things, learned new ways of working alongside the children and facilitating their investigations and explorations. 

One of the things we had really not yet mastered was inviting parents into those investigations to understand what their children were doing at the centre and what their thinking is about that and how they might help us with new insights and participate in a meaningful way in the investigation and help us deepen the curriculum for the children.

We worried parents wouldn't want to take the time to dive into this work with us.  We wanted to honour their perspectives and have them participate in a meaningful way but we know how busy they are. 

So we didn't do it. 

But in 2017 Jennifer and I decided that we needed to be bold  - we really wanted to build stronger relationships with parents and build the SRCC Community. 

So we challenged all our programs to hold a Family Meeting before the end of summer 2017.

Two programs were ready and to go very quickly and last night both the West Cambie Infant and Cranberry Spies work group families came into the programs and learned what their children have been working on, gave us their perspectives and thinking,  and left something for the children and program before they left. 

Cranberry Spies
A group of children at Cranberry have been playing "Spies" for a while.  Educator Dominique paid close attention to the play and what was driving it.  Why is being a spy so exciting?  What can spies get up to that regular children cannot?  What tools do spies need? 

She shared her observations and documentations with the parents of the spies and they told us it helped them make sense of what the children were playing at home.  After a lively sharing of documentation and conversation the parents were invited to make some spy gadgets to leave in the classroom to surprise the spies.  As the gadgets took shape there was more conversation and the topic of a future discussion emerged.  It was a powerful night of collaboration and thinking and discussion and fun.  

West Cambie Infants
As the babies language is emerging the staff have been exploring a range of language and literacy experiences with the infants using a variety of materials.  They invited parents into this story and explained their intentions around their work and  what they had discovered about the children in this group and about language development.  They then offered parents the opportunity to write a story to their child using the photos they had been requested to bring in.  The stories were up in the room this morning when the children arrived this morning and they were so intrigued and delighted!  A great night of mutual understanding and relationship building with and among parents.

We hope the parents who participated found the experience valuable and we hope that when other parents are invited to participate you will do so with curiosity and enthusiasm as we work together to "Change the world by honouring childhood".