• Partnership with parents

    Up until a few years ago, cooperation with parents predominantly meant a rather one-sided flow of information from the teacher to the parent about the child’s progress and behaviour. The current focus on educational partnership, however, concentrates more on a bilateral and cooperative exchange between ECEC professionals and parents.

    The common goal of the educational partnership is the optimal development and well-being of the child.

    At the centre of a sustainable educational partnership is the regular exchange between parents and ECEC professionals. The ECEC centre can only fulfil its duty to support the family if the ECEC professionals know:

    • what the social status of the family is,
    • where current and long-term difficulties lie,
    • and what educational principles the parents follow.

    For the parents, the various possibilities for taking part in the ECEC life are also worthwhile, for example by taking part in parent-teacher conferences, parties and projects or establishing personal contact with other parents and ECEC professionals.

    This way the parents have the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes, to actively shape the day-to-day life of the ECEC centre, to get to know and understand current topics that are dealt with in the ECEC centre with the children and also to see their own child outside the family routine.

    A communicative and stable partnership between parents and ECEC professionals is also important with regard to strengthening the children’s media literacy. If both sides discuss observations from everyday ECEC life as well as family and child media use together, all participants can better cater for the children and their needs.

    From this, common ways of support and encouragement can derive. In addition, educators can advise parents on their educational competences in general and media use, in particular, and support them with uncertainties and questions.

    The basis for successful cooperation is an understanding of the respective views and an open mind. The fundamentals are respect, tolerance and acceptance. An equal and trusting atmosphere is needed, which enables a long-term and honest exchange between ECEC professionals and parents and efficiently clarifies possible differences of opinion and conflicts.

    Transparency, Exchange, Collaboration

    The majority of parents are basically familiar with their media education task. They have a sensitive view of their children's perception and use of media and support them optimally in selecting suitable media offers.

    But mostly there are uncertainties in families about how to deal with the media. Educators can openly address family insecurities with tips and suggestions and also help parents with questions about media education.

    suitability Which media offers are suitable for my child?
    protection How can I protect my child from harmful media?
    appropriacy How can I choose appropriate media content?
    advice & support Who can advise and support me?
    dependency How can I prevent my child from becoming too dependent on educational apps?

    Table: Parents‘ concern

    With regard to the transparency of the ECEC centres, it is essential that parents be told which policy the institution is following to strengthen media literacy. This benefits both the parents and the ECEC professionals. Parents can learn what media experiences their child has, what skills he or she has already shown in the ECEC centre and where the ECEC professionals are starting to strengthen media literacy. The ECEC professionals in turn regularly receive information about the use of the media at home, about the accompanied and independent experiences in the family context and about ways to strengthen media literacy in the family.

    An exchange of information promotes a complete view of each individual child and also makes it possible to understand the various educational concepts in families when using the media. This way, one can identify need for action and the ECEC centre has the opportunity to coordinate its individual support of the child accordingly.

    The Model of Strengthening Child‘s Media Literacy

    Comprehension Questions

    1. How different is the current partnership of ECEC teachers with parents from the past?

    2. Why is it important to support an active partnership between ECEC professionals and parents?

    3. Can you suggest some ways for the implementation of sustainable educational partnership between ECEC educators with parents?

    4. What are the parents’ benefits in an active partnership with ECEC educators?