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How Can Communities Help Educate Early Childhood Students

Arthur has a Ph.D. and is a substitute teacher in Virginia Public Schools. He is also a Technology Leader and an Educational Consultant.

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How Can Communities Help Educate Early Childhood Students

For professionals working in early childhood care and education, you have undoubtedly studied many hours of child psychology, curriculum, and teaching methods that will enable you to be a successful classroom teacher. When you first start teaching, many teachers encounter obstacles that improve their teaching and sometimes change their teaching philosophy.

New teachers will quickly discover that working with families and connecting with the larger community will present challenges and are vital to a student's success. Although teachers and schools impact children's growth and development, their learning, behaviors, and viewpoints are affected by their families and immediate community. Teachers must understand these additional influences and provide lessons that are most appropriate for the children that they will teach.

As a teacher, be aware that you cannot ensure that influences impacting children are all positive or consistent, so you must be sensitive to the idea that children's learning is positively and negatively affected and outside of what you can control. You must also remember that your feelings and reactions to outside influences will affect children's growth. As you identify the strengths of family influence in your students' lives, you have another thing to consider. Social media and community influences are unfiltered and typically will affect your students in different ways. Learning how parents feel about social media influences their children's lives will also help the teacher understand why a child's point of view is the way it is.

According to Scully, Barbour, and Robert-King, "Almost all young children in the United States are exposed to entertainment and education delivered through media other than print and television. Movies (in theaters or on TV or other devices); sound recordings on compact discs and MP3 players; games on hand-held devices, game systems, computers, and the Internet are the main sources. Children today must develop media literacy to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media in all its many forms." (Scully, Barbour, and Robert-King, 2018).

The Internet and social media information are immediately available to affect children's lives. Teachers have their hands full when trying to educate students. The good news is that education facilities are part of the community and have a significant influence. The notion that society is vital in the role of education of American children is a central theme of education reform. Urban neighborhoods prone to violence will see significant changes when the community members partner up with schools and create safe routes for children, teachers, and parents to and from schools.

Community agencies partnering with schools, law enforcement, and libraries will contribute to school resilience. Creating safety inside the schools is the primary objective for teachers, and creating safety for students coming and leaving school should be the local community's concern. Many parents work during the day and are still working when their children leave school for the day. Since cell phone usage is limited in schools, parents lose contact with their children until free time or when they have left the school premises, so safety is a primary parental concern.

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Many local community stores donate supplies to school teachers, as do some local businesses. Teachers that teach in low-income areas will often find that parents do not have the financial resources to buy school supplies. Often, teachers go into their own pockets to ensure that students have the supplies needed to participate in the class activities. New teachers will quickly find out that a teacher's salary is low and that buying supplies means taking away from the finances you need to pay your bills. Teachers are dedicated, and many local business owners know about the struggle and will gladly donate paper, pens, notebooks, crayons, and coloring books. Teachers known in the community have tremendous success in getting donations, so let's get out there and meet the community we teach.

Remembering that education is the gateway to success in America, everyone should ensure that all children in our communities get the best education possible. It can be done by everyone understanding their role in education, whether teachers, business owners, police officers, or a parent. We all have an essential role to play, and that role will benefit the children and the entire community in one way or another. Many people living in urban communities may not have finances to share with schools but volunteering their time is just as vital to the schools and their communities.

© 2022 Dr Arthur Burton

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