Supporting Authentic Partnerships Between Caregivers and Educators

In last week’s post we talked about Embracing Natural Connections to Extend Literacy. This week we are reflecting on partnerships between caregivers, children, and teachers. We are taking time to consider the role that technology can play in opening up communication, connection, and authentic learning experiences beyond the walls of the classroom.

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“…Technology has tremendous potential to strengthen communication and connection between families and early educators to the benefit of children” – Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services

As teachers across the world shifted learning models, they looked to digital experiences to maintain connection and communication. As we move back to in-person learning, we have the opportunity to continue to consider this connection as a vital part of the learning experience. Digital communication can happen with ease and accessibility, provide visual and auditory connection and feedback, and can nurture meaningful and equitable experiences for families to participate in together. This brings us to a new level in education – where learning is not simply what happens in the classroom, it is what happens in the hearts, minds, and daily shared experiences of children, caregivers, and educators together.

Innovating Play Mindset

Throughout the Innovating Play book, especially in Chapter 9, we explore the idea of sharing learning and play experiences with families. This includes ideas for sharing the learning that happened during class time together, AND opportunities for families to participate in learning beyond the classroom as well. We present the idea of Extended Learning Experiences, which are multimedia learning stories that are woven together using a variety of sources such as student work samples, documentation of the process of learning, and resources to support conversation and discovery beyond the classroom. Extended learning experiences can be presented before a unit of study, in order to level the playing field for exposure and development of prior knowledge. They may also be used as a source of connection during a specific learning experience, including caregivers as a participant in learning alongside their child. We have found one of the most powerful ways to include families is through providing culminating experiences which allow families to support their child in the process of transferring learning into a real world context. Many specific examples of Extended Learning Experiences can be found throughout Chapter 9, AND at the end of each chapter for the first three parts of the Innovating Play.

Think About It, and Share with Your PLN!

Share your strategies with us and the Innovating Play Community! We posted this prompt on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You are welcome to click on the links to the posts and respond or share directly on your feed! Just be sure to tag us and use the #InnovatingPlay hashtag.

Next #InnovatingPlay Twitter Chat

Be sure to mark your calendars for the next #InnovatingPlay Twitter Chat that is taking place Saturday, March 27th at 7 AM PST | 9 CST | 10 EST. Our topic is: Reimagining Literacy for Young Children. You can find more details on the chat in this post.

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