School and Community: An Important Link
There is an important interdependency between school and community. The result of that relationship directly impacts the growth of our children and our neighborhood. When we think of the school and staff we trust to teach and care for our children each day, we often don’t realize the role the school plays within the community and just how important that role is.
Close to 40% of Americans stay in their hometown according to Pew Research. When communities focus on building strong moral and educational foundations for their youth, we believe these communities will only continue to strengthen over time. Schools are a very large part of building that community strength and it all begins with early childhood development centers.
A Child’s Sense of Community
As children develop, it’s important that they learn about their individual roles in the community. Teaching children about service to others, how it helps themselves and others grow, helps children to build a sense of self worth and belonging. They learn better communication skills, teamwork, and confidence. They also begin to understand how their actions impact the people and things around them.
Staff and the Community
Schools are an obvious part of a community, but it’s just as important for a school to have a participatory role in its community. Having a presence at local events, involvement in professional organizations in early learning, and participation in community activities is a critical to the continuing growth of the community.
When school staff and families are encouraged to work together on projects, those relationships build over time, bonding young children and families to the community even after the children move on from the school.
Always remember too that when a school is heavily involved, it’s a great starting place for information on community-based resources and organizations in need of family services and support.
The School and Community
Inviting neighboring organizations to participate in school activities to engage with the children, staff, and families helps build trust among all members of the community. Children will also gain a greater understanding of different roles in our lives and how the roles connect to create a fulfilling and nurturing environment.
What to Look for in a School
If you’re looking at enrolling your child in an early childhood development center, look for a clearly-defined purpose statement of the center’s philosophy and learning expectations for both its children and families. Be sure to check references and online resources to ensure the school provides quality, modern services and has proper long-term financial and resource management in place.
Look for collaboration and engagement of families and community partners. If a school is dedicated to its community, it shouldn’t be difficult to spot.
Make sure the school shares your values and goals for the care and development of the children in the community. Does the school have a clear understanding of its neighborhood and community priorities and needs? Do members of the school’s staff participate in community organizations that support education or caring for children and families? Does the school stress continuing education for its management and teachers?
Kid’s Harbor and the Community
We make it a priority to create a strong sense of fellowship in each of our schools. Each of our schools provide a comfortable place for children to feel safe and welcome without losing our sense of structure and standards.
Our programs focus on helping children better understand their world by engaging in activities about the community in which they live. In addition, our programs help them to make connections between what they have learned about their community, state, and country or native nation. Our multicultural classrooms share and participate in customs, traditions, and events of our students’ families and cultures.
The Kids Harbor staff, our kids, and their families take pride in community involvement because we want to remain a part of our growing and strengthening neighborhoods for many generations to come.
Questions to Ask When Looking at Early Childhood Development Centers
Here are some specific questions that parents should ask at any type of preschool.
- What is the educational philosophy of the preschool?
- What is the educational background and experience of the teachers and staff?
- Will the school provide references?
- How does the school collaborate with the community?
- How do parents get involved in the school?