This book examines the connections between the homes, schools, and communities in which children live—and their influences on those lives. The authors' unique vision of school improvement suggests how to arrange teaching strategies and a situation-specific curriculum that is developmentally and culturally appropriate. It also emphasizes the necessity of including communities and families as equal partners with the schools. By weaving extensive demographic information with real life stories, this book helps readers develop a full perspective regarding child life. Chapter topics include historical perspectives; viewing family diversity; parenting the child; preschool experiences and out-of-home care; responsibility for educating children; curriculums of the home, school, and community; models for parent-school-community partnerships; and effective social settings for learning. For parents and teachers—and anyone who lives in a community and cares about its effects on the children who are growing up in it.
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Presenting a case for a unique vision of school improvement, this new introduction focuses on a multidisciplinary approach to teaching young children. It seeks to combine the knowledge and experiences that emerge from the three social settings of each child's life--home, community, and school--into educational strategies that will create nurturing learning environments.From the Inside Flap:
We have 54 million school-aged children in the United States today, and another 20 million preschoolers are growing rapidly in homes, care centers, and communities across our nation. Teachers, social services providers, and administrators, as well as family members, community members, and caregivers of all kinds, have a tremendous responsibility to ensure the most productive education possible for this huge section of the American public who will be the mainstay of society in the future. The responsibility is staggering. However, many critics question our success rate, and some kind of reform or education renewal seems to be on everyone's mind.
In the four years since the first edition of this text, a number of significant events have unfolded, and all have implications for education in America. A burgeoning economy has surrounded us and made life easier for most Americans, but almost one-fifth of our children continue to live in poverty. A national welfare reform plan has been instituted, and while some successes are evident, some regrettable results also are associated with that reform. Brain research findings provide more answers to nagging questions about development, but Judith Harris's book, The Nurture Assumption, on the potency of peer groups has startled Americans about parent roles. Marital statistics have changed considerably: Divorces are less frequent, but so are marriages, and more children are raised in single-parent homes.
At the same time, the proliferation of the cyberworld has created new challenges and opportunities for all citizens. The rapid rise of the Internet in the past few years has overstepped the bounds of all estimates and signals vast changes in the way Americans will communicate, purchase materials, and access information in the future.
In addition to all the new and sobering challenges, old demands are still evident in our postindustrial society. Cultural and ethnic diversity is expanding rapidly in the United States, and concerns about special-needs children grow each year. Our federal government, as well as most state governments, displays more interest in education and seeks to play a more influential role. The effect of this governmental interest and role is perceived differently by educators, parents, and community leaders.
The face of our world can never be the same again, and most people realize that the requirements for citizens in the 21st century are very different from those of a generation ago. All these concerns point to a need to develop education agendas aimed at blending interests, using cooperation to the fullest, and identifying all resources possible for addressing children's educational needs.
Most authorities agree that major changes in the procedures, the curriculum, and the formats of U.S. schools are needed as never before. For many, the greatest changes focus on drawing more partners into the management and handling of children's formal education. A number of educational collaborations and partnership designs have spread across the United States, and they have served as effective bridges in many school districts. This text moves in a similar direction, and the authors support the designs that emphasize the benefits of collaboration among the many agencies and persons working with our children.
A basic tenet of Families, Schools, and Communities: Building Partnerships for Educating Children is that schools will always be a primary venue for educating the young child. And educators must be in the forefront of any endeavor to bring about change. However, we stress that to accomplish the tasks at hand, all school districts must develop vibrant partnerships—uniting parents and community members with teachers in educating tomorrow's citizens. Schools are where the action is, but respectful collaboration is the key to success.
Significant steps for improving children's education through collaboration are already at work in schools and communities across the United States. A growing number of research studies, controlled assessments, and personal accounts support new education approaches. These beginning ventures provide intriguing evidence and guides for others to follow. We do not need to reconceptualize our curricula or most of our teaching practices. The big job now is to study and adapt the amazing examples that already exist. NEW TO THE SECOND EDITION
Building on the success of the first edition, we have rearranged some material and topics to give the text more coherence and usefulness. Since research studies and findings are frequently expanded or replicated, we have updated a large number of references. We have changed the recommended readings section in each chapter to include other media, particularly websites, that we believe will have staying power. We have inserted a new chapter on child care to support the sections in other chapters that could not cover the topic adequately. New and updated figures and tables synthesize information for the reader.
We have inserted more information on special education, although we realize that the scope of this text serves only as a beginning step for this important area of educational experience. Lastly, we have inserted a new section in each chapter labeled "Implications for Professionals," which we hope will help the reader to personalize the chapter material. ORGANIZATION OF THIS TEXT
We feel it vital for preservice and inservice teachers as well as other social services providers to understand the myriad influences on children's lives and how the structures of homes, schools, and communities affect children's learning. By acknowledging this broader scope of curriculum, teachers in training and other young professionals will recognize the family and the community as crucial educative forces.
We begin this text with an overview of the powerful influences surrounding young children. Along with this, we identify the three primary social settings of home life, school life, and community life and discuss how these settings interplay to affect children's lives. Society does change, of course, and some forces influencing children have intensified in recent years. We categorize these influence patterns to gain a perspective of what exists in the United States today.
Chapter 2 focuses on how responsibilities for children's education have emerged over time and how different ethnic groups in the United States have been affected over more than 3 centuries. We look particularly at the uneven progress of collaborations that have affected schoolwork.
The next two chapters present information on U.S. family life, reviewing various family patterns and recognizing the different ways that families function. Prospective teachers will grasp the range of situations that professionals encounter as they work with children in a diverse society, and our hope is that they will comprehend the logic for establishing collaborations in light of this diversity.
Chapter 5 is a new chapter for this second edition, and it is devoted to the expanding out-of-home care programs for the millions of preschool-aged children as well as young school-aged children. Far more mothers have joined the workforce and must now find adequate care for their preschool-aged children and their in-school children who need care during after-school hours. We discuss the various child care arrangements and practices as well as the agency-directed preschool programs that growing numbers of young children encounter. Chapter 6 examines the responsibilities of parents and professionals in each of the three social settings. It points out the various educational assignments and expectations that each setting places on the others.
Chapters 7, 8, and 9 deal with curriculum in the three social settings. Curriculum surrounds children, and though we do not always take notice of it, much of what children learn comes from the world outside the classroom. The reader must recognize that all citizens are educators and that when teachers acknowledge this, an even greater potential for learning exists.
The last four chapters focus on the possibilities for collaboration among the three social settings. In chapter 10, we discuss traditional as well as new ways for teachers, parents, and others to work together. Chapter 11 reviews several model programs that demonstrate partnerships working beneficially. Chapter 12 highlights effective social settings and extends ideas about the ingredients for developing partnerships. Chapter 13 examines the demanding and often difficult process of getting together. In this last chapter, we review the steps required to establish a good partnership. We then use idealized rural and urban school districts to demonstrate how two actual communities are struggling toward collaboration, exploring the typical problems they encounter, and evaluating their progress.
The appendix for the second edition carries an extensive bibliography of children's books to help make the content of this text more pertinent and meaningful. SPECIAL FEATURES
To assist instructors and students using this text, we have included several pedagogical aids.
Chapter Objectives, Implications, and Summaries. Concise statements of each chapter's main ideas serve as advance organizers for the content that follows. To relate the chapter content to a beginning professional's life and experience, we have placed a brief section near the end of each chapter that urges the reader to reflect upon and personalize the chapter information. This "Implications for Professionals" section is a new element in the second edition and is designed to increase understanding by relating text to self. A chapter summary reviews the highlights of the content in each chapter.
Vignettes. Depictions of real-life events that the authors have encountered clarify many concepts throughout the text. These personal stories are all from the authors' experiences (except the names used) and give a human connection to the chapter information and purpose.
Suggested Activities and Questions. Each chapter ends with questions and activities that give instructors another means to make the text applicable to their course outlines and to students' lives. For students, the activities will help apply concepts presented and will stimulate reflection and discussion on the reading as well as their own experiences.
Resources. In addition to citing extensive references within the text and featuring tables and figures that encapsulate text content, we list a few particular titles at the end of each chapter to allow for a more thorough examination of content. We also have extended the second edition chapters with other resources: (1) up-to-date films and videos to provide another medium for the chapter concepts, (2) lists of key organizations and agencies that relate to the profession, and (3) several websites that will give current status reports for our chapter features.
Bibliography of Children's Literature. The selections depict valuable examples of children in different family arrangements learning in a variety of settings. This updated bibliography provides instructors as well as inservice teachers and other professionals with curriculum material to illuminate the chapter content. It will be particularly valuable for chapters 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Glossary. Because the text draws from sociology, psychology, human development, and anthropology as well as from pedagogy and curriculum content, we include a glossary to help readers with specialized terms. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Many people assisted in the writing and assembling of this text. We would like to acknowledge particularly the following individuals: Ithel Jones of Florida State University for developing chapter 5, offering valuable reflections on use of the first edition, and commenting on manuscript drafts; Valerie Mekras for supplying background material and references on special-needs programs; and Audrey Jewett for providing research on materials and retrieval of children's literature topics.
We also are grateful to Cyndi Gostenhofer, Director of First Experiences Child Care Center, and her wonderful team of colleagues for providing support and observation opportunities. Many thanks go to our colleagues, classroom teachers, and parents who willingly supplied photos to illustrate our text. We thank Steven Barbour for supplying numerous photos plus suggestions for illuminating several text sections. Library personnel at the University of Maine and the University of Maryland have been patient, helpful, and supportive in filling numerous requests and supplying materials in a timely fashion.
We wish to thank Ann Davis, our editor at Merrill/Prentice Hall, for her excellent 'guidance for this text. We also thank Holly Henjum, our production editor at Clarinda Publication Services, and freelance copyeditor Deborah Cady for their many valuable contributions. Several individuals reviewed this text, and we thank them here: Marcia Broughton, University of Northern Colorado; Laurie Dinnebeil, University of Toledo; Janie H. Humphries, Louisiana Tech; and Sandra J. Wanner, University of Mary HardinBaylor.
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