Bernard van Leer Foundation ~ Parents and professionals managing diversity in early childhood

The Bernard van Leer Foundation has released findings in a paper entitled Making Our Way, resulting from their 2-year long Parents and Diversity project. The project looked at building partnerships between childcare providers and parents and examined how childcare providers met the differing needs of an increasingly diverse population of parents and children.

The project sought to quantify parental involvement along four concepts of:

  • living together
  • working together
  • thinking together
  • taking decisions together.

A tool was developed by lead researchers for this initiative and provides an interesting way to assess parent participation. The report describes how practitioners, policy makers and researchers can move forward in terms of addressing diversity in the early years.

Of particular interest is Chapter 2: Partnerships with Immigrant Parents: No Standard Formulas. From the chapter:

“Even in standard educational settings, such as childcare centres, the pedagogic dialogue with parents does not appear to be as good as it should be … parents report that they have no say in pedagogic policy such as the content of the daily programme…. Generally, discussions are held with parents about caring for their children, but rarely is there any attempt at harmonising the home/school situation. Parents are seldom, if ever, involved in decisions on intercultural objectives and methods. The researchers say that many opportunities for educators and parents to help one another are being missed”.