Why Family, Culture and Community Involvement Matter in Childhood Development
by Lucy Marc
“It takes a village to raise a child”-old proverb
The whole community has a necessary role to play in the growth and development of its young people. Within the framework of his or her family, the child’s care is influenced by his or her parents’ cultural belief systems. Furthermore, the family culture offers the child with a sense of identity and a framework for interpreting the world.
It’s easy for early childhood programs to become secluded and narrow-minded. They develop into their own little world. Children in early childhood programs need and deserve to have the rich cultural influence of a vast variety of people, ideals and information from outside of the program.
Ecological Systems Theory
The ecological systems theory was developed by Urie Bronfenbrenner. Bronfenbrenner believed that a person’s development was affected by everything in their surrounding environment. He divided the person’s environment into five different levels: the microsystem, the mesosystem, the exosystem, the macrosystem, and the chronosystem.
Humans are cultural beings. We learn to communicate and understand our world through the context of our languages, traditions, behaviors, beliefs and values. Our cultural experiences and values shape the way we see ourselves and what we think is important. When individuals are part of a cultural group, we learn the ways of that culture Schools, parents, and the community should work together to promote the health, well-being, and learning of all students. When schools actively involve parents and engage community resources they are able to respond more effectively to the health-related needs of students.
Inclusion of Family and Community
Parent, family, and community participation in education connects with higher academic presentation and progress. When schools, parents, families, and communities work together to support learning, students tend to earn higher grades, attend school more regularly, stay in school longer, and enroll in higher level programs.
There are lots of ways to bring families together, including in-school or community-based events, group email lists and social media. Teachers, school administrators, students, or parents and guardians can coordinate appropriate family connections based on the students’ age and the composition of the community.