by Nancy Grausam
Using Module 4 Family-Professional Partnerships to
Enhance Students’ Understanding of Families and the
NAEYC Professional Preparation Standards
Nancy Grausam from the Pennsylvania College of Technology discusses how
she is currently using Module 4 and shares about the relevance and usefulness
of the module for her and her learners.
During CONNECT’s February Webinar presentation, I shared ways that Module 1: Embedded Interventions was infused in four courses within our NAEYC-accredited Early Childhood Education Associate Degree Program. What I did not share was my feedback during CONNECT’s Module 1 pilot study interview. The interviewer probably heard only about 5 minutes about Module 1 and then was subjected to 20 minutes of coaxing, pleading, reasoning, begging for the CONNECT team to develop a family module! It’s here now and I’ve found it to be really easy to integrate and use. Be sure to check out the activity guides on the instructor dashboards* (available in the instructor community), as those really helped me facilitate the use of the module.
Module 4 focuses on practices related to building trusting family-professional partnerships when working with families of young children. Understanding all families, engaging in respectful relationships and involving them in their children’s learning are concepts that are directly linked to the NAEYC accreditation standards and best practices. The activities in the Family-Professional Partnerships Module also provide some of our “learning opportunities” to support the NAEYC accreditation key assessments*.
This module beautifully illustrates “reframing” a fundamental principle to understanding characteristics of children and families. Whether it is the dilemma videos* depicting the teacher’s and the parent’s views on the same issue in Step 1 or the experience-based knowledge* section in Step 3 where parents like Rosalie Fajardo share their perspectives on working in partnerships with professionals, students are able to see authentic characteristics throughout the module. Since using the module, I now begin my classes with a short “reframing” activity and that has helped students to more easily identify family strengths.
In this same course, a panel of family members of children with a disability visited and discussed both the challenges and the joys of parenting their child. Afterwards, students conducted an individual interview with a family in their community, and later shared their reflections in a paper. When asked to describe what was learned about building reciprocal relationships with families, a student wrote, “I learned not to be so judgmental and that I have to earn the respect of the family so that we can work in an equal partnership”. However, that same student later writes, “How does one actually do that?”. This is when the demonstration videos* of the practice in Step 3 come in. I’ll be using the three video demonstrations and accompanying activities where students identify beginning, middle and firm practice examples of how to build relationships with families. I’ll keep you posted on how this goes.
About the Author: Nancy Grausam has been a faculty member at Pennsylvania College of Technology for the past 18 years. She has also taught young children with and without disabilities and directed a preschool program. She is actively involved in the field and is currently serving as a Commissioner, and Early Age Advisory Committee member, for the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Elementary Schools. Nancy was the Past-President of PennAEYC in 2004 and has assisted with the development and marketing of Keystone Stars, Pennsylvania's Quality Initiative.
- How have you engaged students to learn effective practices for building relationships with families?
- How have you used Module 4: Family-Professional Partnerships?