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Early Childhood Pre-K Lead Teacher Family and Community
 
Course Description
    

Parents have been teaching their children since birth. Educators have much to gain by recognizing the role of the parents and including them as partners in their child’s education. Traditionally, parent involvement was defined as time parents spent in the classroom volunteering. Today many parents work or have responsibilities outside the home. Educators must think of parent participation in new ways. Since families vary in their cultures, ethnicities, belief systems, experiences, compositions, parenting abilities, and geographic locations developing positive relationships with families both formally and informally is crucial in the early childhood setting. Good communication is essential for building partnerships with families. When young children observe respectful and genuine interactions between their families and teachers, they see that their two worlds – home and school – are connected.

 
Course Syllabus
    
 

Overview: Early Childhood Family Community

Parents have been teaching their children since birth. Educators have much to gain by recognizing the role of the parents and including them as partners in their child’s education. Traditionally, parent involvement was defined as time parents spent in the classroom volunteering. Today many parents work or have responsibilities outside the home. Educators must think of parent participation in new ways. Since families vary in their cultures, ethnicities, belief systems, experiences, compositions, parenting abilities, and geographic locations developing positive relationships with families both formally and informally is crucial in the early childhood setting. Good communication is essential for building partnerships with families. When young children observe respectful and genuine interactions between their families and teachers, they see that their two worlds – home and school – are connected.  

By the end of this course, participants will:
  • Define differences and similarities in families, 
  • Define family engagement in a child's education
  • Investigate strategies to learn about family interests,
  • Demonstrate ways to help families feel welcome, 
  • Develop ways to convey a positive message in the classroom for families, 
  • Discover strategies to create a welcoming environment, 
  • Demonstrate the importance of sharing positive and specific information about the child’s interests, skills, and abilities, 
  • Discuss ways of using clear and objective descriptions of the child’s behavior and accomplishments, 
  • Explore strategies to help parents become effectively involved in their child’s education, 
  • Discuss ways to make classroom participation meaningful for families,
  • Identify the importance that parents, families and communities can and must play in facilitating student learning, 
  • Recognize the four major forms of school community partnerships and factors that influence their implementation and results,
  • Identify goals for a One Year Action Plan for a school, family and community partnership,
  • Understand the importance of collaborating with community—families and school staff collaborate with community members to connect students, families, and staff to expanded learning opportunities, community services, and civic participation, and 
  • Develop a working knowledge of working with local businesses, industries, and community organizations on programs to enhance students’ skills and parent involvement.
Course Organization
This course includes several different activity components, all of which are described below. During each session, you will participate in a unique collection of these activity components, depending on the particular focus of that session.

Read
When you see this icon you will be reading relevant articles, resources, and instructional materials that will help inform your online course development process.

Activities
When you see this icon you will be completing activity-based curriculum and inputting various components of your course content into course project.

Discuss
When you see this icon you will be using the online discussion board to share ideas, resources, and thoughtful conversation with your fellow course participants and facilitator.
Prerequisites

This course is designed for lead teachers in WV Universal Pre-K classrooms. Participants are expected to have regular access to computers. Although not a requirement, high speed Internet access definitely enhances the online experience. Participants should be proficient with using email, browsing the Internet and navigating through computer files. 

Microsoft Word is required in order to read, edit and/or create documents for this course. If you have a WVDE k12.wv.us email account, you have access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, etc. as part of Microsoft Office 365. You should see your school/county technology support person if you need help in using/installing Word and/or other Office applications. 

If you do not have a k12.wv.us email account, Word must be acquired through other means.  One way to get access to Word Online at no charge is by  Creating a Microsoft Outlook Account with Access to FREE Office Online.

Format and Requirements
This workshop is divided into six sessions, plus an Orientation, which each include readings, activities, and an online discussion among workshop participants. The time necessary to complete each session is estimated to be six and a half to seven hours.

The outline for the workshop is as follows:
Session One Getting to Know Families
Session Two Making Families Feel Welcome
Session Three Communicating With Families
Session Four Partnering With Families
Session Five Supporting Children and Families-Community Resources
Session Six Informing Families-Community Resources

Orientation
This orientation session should be completed prior to the start of our course. It includes a participant survey; an introduction to the course website; and the opportunities to update your profile, email your facilitator, and introduce yourself to fellow participants as you experiment with the online discussion board.

Session One: Getting to Know Families  
Children have increasingly diverse backgrounds. Families vary in their cultures, ethnicities, belief systems, experiences, compositions, parenting abilities, and geographic locations. To ensure continuity and give meaning to what is learned in school, teachers must become familiar with children’s everyday lives. During this session participants will define differences and similarities in families, investigate strategies to learn about family interests and learn to appreciate cultural differences in families of children in their classroom. 
 

Session Two: Making Families Feel Welcome 
Developing positive relationships with families both formally and informally are crucial in the early childhood setting. During this session participants will learn to use what they know about families to help families feel welcome in the classroom. The environment in the classroom and ways you introduce your program can make families feel they belong and they have a role to play. During this session participants will also learn strategies to create a welcoming environment so parents will know about the classroom and begin to build a trusting relationship. 

Session Three: Communicating with Families  
Effective communication is essential for building partnerships with families. When young children observe respectful and genuine interactions between their families and teachers, they see that their two worlds – home and school – are connected. During this session participants will learn the importance of sharing positive and specific information about the child’s interests, skills, and abilities as well as using clear and objective descriptions of the child’s behavior and accomplishments.

Session Four: Partnering with Families    
Parents have been teaching their children since birth. Educators have much to gain by recognizing the role of the parents and including them as partners in their child’s education. Traditionally, parent involvement was defined as time parents spent in the classroom volunteering. Today many parents work or have responsibilities outside the home. Educators must think of parent participation in new ways. During this session participants will explore strategies to help parents become effectively involved in their child’s education.  
 

Session Five: Supporting Children and Families-Community Resources  
Community resources can strengthen the family’s ability to be lifelong educators for their child. During this session participants will discover ways to identify resources and activities available in the community to support the needs of each individual family based upon observations and interactions with the family.

Session Six: Informing Families-Community Resources 
It is importance for families to have community resource information—working in a partnership with community members to connect students, families, and staff to expanded learning opportunities is crucial for a child’s success. There are many opportunities for parents to become involved with their child’s education, from volunteering in the classroom, to serving on the school improvement team, to participating in the PTA. During this session participants will discuss ways in which to locate and provide information to families to be active in their community.

Course Project Assessment

Workshop participants will complete an orientation and then six workshop sessions that include weekly readings, activities, and online discussions.  There will be a pre-workshop survey and a post-workshop survey. A quiz is scheduled during the Orientation. Participants are expected to score a minimum of 90% on the quiz. Participants will complete weekly assignments and projects in Sessions One - Six. Project templates and rubrics describe activities to be completed, shared, peer-reviewed and submitted to the dropbox for facilitator evaluaton during each of these sessions.  Facilitator feedback will be provided throughout the course.

Two course project templates and corresponding rubrics are provided during Sessions One and Four and may also be accessed at the bottom of this section. The course project templates describe activities to be completed sequentially, shared and peer-reviewed and then submitted to the course dropbox each session where the facilitator will provide feedback concerning the project.

Course Project Template Sessions 1 - 3 Course Project Rubric Sessions 1- 3
Course Project Template Sessions 4 - 6  Course Project Rubric Sessions 4- 6
Discussion Participation

Participants will be evaluated weekly on the frequency and quality of their participation in the discussion forum. This course has dual discussion posting for each session. 

Participants are required to post a minimum of one substantial original posting each session in response to the discussion prompt for that session. They are to read all original messages by course participants and enough additional responses to make a total of 50% of the messages posted for that session. Participants are to respond thoughtfully to a minimum of two colleagues' original postings each session. Postings will be evaluated on their relevance, demonstrated understanding of course concepts, examples cited, and overall quality.

The guidelines for the discussions and how they will be evaluated are located in the Discussion Guidelines and the Checklist for Evaluating Discussion Postings. In certain discussions, participants will be asked to peer review others' projects using this Rubric Review Help Guide.

Course Grading Expectations
All grades in the course gradebook must be a "C" for successful course completion.  A grade of "C" indicates that all work has been completed and the work meets the expectations for that assignment.
Copyright and Plagiarism Information

All resources referenced during the course will be properly documented. 

Copyright guidelines are to be observed throughout the course project and all course activities. All work associated with course projects, course assignments and course discussions will be original to each course participant. Fair use does not apply to the course project. 
 
Plagiarism, the reproduction of all or any part of another individual’s or organization’s work, by a course participant of work associated with the course project or other course assignments at any point during the course will result in no credit being awarded for the course  

Course projects are to be the work of an individual course participant. Group projects require special permission of the program coordinator, Donna Landin (dlandin@k12.wv.us).

Certificate of Completion
Upon successful completion of this course, Early Childhood Family Community, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion documenting successful completion of the course requirements. Certificates are distributed to each qualifying participant by attachment to the final course project Dropbox with facilitator feedback shortly after the completion of the course.
Software Download Disclaimer
Participants are to seek assistance regarding the appropriate software programs to be downloaded when updating or installing new programs on their computers. Inappropriate downloads of software may result in malicious programs being installed on your computer.
Content and Technology Standards

This workshop, Early Childhood Family Community, will help participants meet the ISTE Educational Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for All Teachers (http://edtechleaders.org/documents/NETSAdminTeachers.pdf), especially Standards II, III, IV, and V. For more information about Technology Integration visit: http://www.iste.org

In addition, participants will identify specific WV Content Standards and Objectives (http://wvde.state.wv.us/csos/) as they engage in course content.

About this Course

This workshop was developed by the West Virginia Department of Education (http://wvde.state.wv.us).

Original design (before format modifications) by EdTech Leaders Online (http://www.edtechleaders.org), a project of Education Development Center, Inc, © 2007.  All rights reserved.