Unit 3: Role of Family in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)

3.1  Parents as first teachers and family as first school.

3.2  Role of family in developing and executing IFSP and IEPs


3.3  Family’s role in developing foundational literacy in young children.

3.4  Supporting learning at home, school and in after school activities.

3.5  Role of family in facilitating inclusive education











3.1                     Parents as first teachers and family as first school.


Parents are a child’s first teachers and the home is a child’s first classroom. As key resources for learning and growth, parents help to shape a child’s social, emotional and physical development so that he/she can thrive in school and beyond.

Supporting student success starts with a shared agreement among families, schools and the community to work together and it involves committed actions to make it happen.

From the moment your first child is born, you become a teacher. Although not a formally qualified one, whether you like it or not, you instantly become your child’s first and most influential coach.

From day one, your child will look to you for so much in life, and what you do matters more than what you say. They watch how you spend your money, how you treat others and more importantly – how you care for them. They will use your actions as a guide to make sense of the world around them and to develop skills to take them further in life as they grow.

Research indicates no amount of formal teaching can compare to the influences you have on your offspring, who you teach every day, – by word and by example. And, with the early years being the most significant stage in life, in order to develop your child’s sense of security, social awareness and confidence in learning, the time to do that, is now.

Here we talk about the importance of taking on the role of parents as first teachers and how you can give your child a head-start.

Being your child’s first teacher is easier than it sounds, and with it, comes huge benefits, such as: 


Helping to develop secure and trusting attachments: 

John Bawlby, a British psychologist and founder of the attachment theory, states that by nurturing the mother: child attachment – you give your baby an optimal foundation for life. A foundation which not only builds trust and a willingness to learn but also gives them a healthy sense of self-awareness and consideration for others.

This form of attachment helps to provide a secure base for your child to explore the outside world, and it also helps them predict that as a parent, you will be there to support them.

Throughout Bawlbys studies he identified many children who displayed secure attachments with their parents. He attributed this attachment to children being more readily able to adjust to life at school. The same study indicates that predictable and consistent routines, similar to those established at home, gives a child a sense of love, safety and assurance and encourages the ability to socialise and relate to others well.

On the other hand, an insecure attachment relationship is one that fails to meet the need for safety and understanding, leading to confusion about oneself and difficulties in learning and relating to others in later life.

Helps develop early social skills: 

Aside from forming a secure attachment with you; as parents, being your child’s first teacher helps develop social skills.

Children do learn by imitation and that can include learning from peers in social conditions, the same as in a “classroom.” But your home is as good as any formal schoolroom to deliver results.

Some parents believe that they contribute little more than genes towards personality and behaviours, however, recent studies confirm parenting in the home plays a vital role in foundation learning and social adjustment outside the home.

For example; warm, responsive parenting has been linked to children’s positive social behaviours. Your child will learn to understand his or her emotional and physical needs can be met through responsive parenting. However, controlling responses to situations, on the other hand, has been linked to negative social behaviours.

Your child will be its own unique person. To encourage social skills, a one-size-fits-all approach is not enough. Fine-tune your parenting by carefully observing your child’s personality, their strengths, and weaknesses. Then provide the level of behaviour control, discipline style, and degree of freedom that works best for them — all the while showing love and support.

Helps establish values and morals:

Mum and Dad, you are the key teacher of all moral values and attitudes that your babies and children will later display. It is you that your child will look up to in everything they do.

Respect, kindness, honesty, courage, perseverance, self-discipline, compassion and many more values can be foundered from home.

As parents, you should want to instil these kinds of values in your children and by doing so you protect them from potentially negative societal influences.  By nurturing respectful values and morals you will also lay the groundwork for your child to understand right from wrong and to contribute positively to society.

Helps develop early literacy and numeracy skills: 

The crucial skill of literacy is learned at a very young age. By three or four your child can understand and use language spoken around them without any formal teaching.

From the time of birth, talking to your child has a big impact, from the first babbles – talking and exchanging words is important to language development and you can take advantage of this learning-sensitive time by,

·       Reading aloud to your child – point to words and symbols throughout the book. Encourage your child’s interest and a positive experience.

·       Talk to them about everything and ask questions – from your surroundings your child will learn words associated with things that are familiar to them and their world. For example, name what you see in the house, as you ride in the car and as you shop in stores.

Research suggests that by encouraging the above, will critically enhance your child’s language abilities and ensure that they become good readers and confident communicators.

Helps develop emotional awareness:

Children will learn to understand and express their emotions through you, their parents.

As babies, through to infancy and beyond – your child will look to you for emotional support when they feel pained or stressed. After the infant stage, your child will begin to notice how you handle your own emotions, as you are considered their emotional role models.

For example: when certain emotions are appropriate, what to call their emotions – happy, sad and how to respond to the emotions of others. If you can start to teach these skills, you will encourage the growth of emotionally healthy and morally sensitive children.

Bawlbys research shows the positive outcomes that result from secure attachments having been formed and suggests that it leads to emotional stability, higher self-esteem, independence, empathy, compassion and resilience later in life.

What this means Mum and Dad, is that preparing your child for life-long learning starts the minute you bring that wee bundle home from hospital and that their education doesn’t begin when they go off to kindergarten or in a formal classroom. It begins in your home.

Regardless of whether you take on full responsibility for your child’s academic careers, you are still considered a teacher, a mentor and guide. The time you contribute to your child and their early education is valuable.

Every time you sing the ABC’S or help your child with her homework, or teach them how to ride a bike, to cook or do laundry – is educating them and the lessons learned at home, for good or bad, are the ones that stick. Make them matter. Your children will appreciate it someday.

Family is the first school not only in terms of socialization and citizenship, but also in terms of general education. A positive family environment will give children examples they can follow in order to better relate with others when they leave this environment.



3.2                     Role of family in developing and executing IFSP and IEPs


Becoming familiar with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) can become quite frustrating and sometimes even overwhelming because of the various steps and processes involved. For family members, this can be even more difficult as paperwork and meetings include unfamiliar language, acronyms, and goal-setting measures.

In this lesson, we go over the different roles parents can and should take in the IEP process. We also discuss methods for encouraging family involvement throughout the entirety of the process so everyone is on the same page when it comes to advocating for the student's best interests.

The Parent's Role

The parent's role in the IEP process is extremely important because they are the expert in understanding the student as a person, which is different from how they appear in class or on paper. The parent is there to support not only their child, but also the team members who may not know the child personally.

Throughout the IEP process, the parent's role is to:

The parents' role as committee members and educational decision makers in creating IEPs was established in 1975 by the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, now known as Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Even though parent involvement is a defining feature of IDEA, Congress, as part of the 1997 reauthorization of IDEA, believed that parental involvement needed strengthening. As a result, parents' rights and responsibilities are again in the forefront as a necessary ingredient for appropriate and individualized educational programming, mandating that schools provide an opportunity for active parental participation in decisions about the education of children.

The involvement of parents in the IEP process has many benefits:

·       Increase the teacher's understanding of the child's environment

·       Add to parents' knowledge of the child's educational setting

·       Improve communication between parents and the school

·       Increase the school's understanding of the child

·       Increase the likelihood that, with improved understanding between home and school, mutually agreed upon educational goals will be attained.


The Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is both a process and a document intended to assist families and professionals in a community in their combined efforts to meet the developmental needs of a young child from birth to age three with special needs.

The meeting to develop the child’s first IFSP (and each annual meeting thereafter to review the IFSP) must include the following participants:


Benefits to the Family

The IFSP assures families:

Parent involvement in early childhood education can extend the experiences that a child has in the classroom to real-world activities that happen in the home. A parent who understands what their child is working on at preschool has a better sense of their child’s competency and which areas they need to work on to improve confidence and ability.

One of the most difficult challenges for early childhood educators is figuring out how to better engage parents in their child’s learning. By establishing good lines of communication between your childcare center and parents, as well as making a strong effort to involve parents as an important partner in their child’s education, you can make a positive impact on their learning ability.




3.3                     Family’s role in developing foundational literacy in young children.


From the moment babies are born, they start developing literacy skills through their relationship with their parents. By talking, reading, singing, and playing with your infant or toddler, you provide the foundation your child will need to develop language and reading skills.

Early literacy skills include listening, speaking, reading, and writing. For children with disabilities or developmental delays, those skills may mature more slowly than they do in typically developing children. Whatever your child’s level of ability, here are some things you can do every day to help your baby develop those important skills.

Encourage Listening

Encourage Speaking

Encourage Reading

Encourage Writing

Daily Activities Promote Literacy

You can incorporate these activities naturally into things you do with your young child every day. Here are some ideas to make daily routines a great time to promote literacy:



3.4                     Supporting learning at home, school and in after school activities.


Parents are children’s first teachers, and many parents are now in that position – literally. Below are some suggestions for how parents can support the learning of their children while at home. First and foremost, valuable learning does not have to be in a ‘classroom’ and students don’t have to be in a ‘school’ to be taught important skills. 

Supporting your child with complex needs

Children with complex needs may have a particularly difficult time coping with this sudden change, and that also asks a lot of parents. The focus for learning will need to be different for everyone and, for some, that learning may focus on simply adjusting to the new normal, following simple routines, managing emotions, learning self-regulation strategies, or practicing a life skill such as tying shoes, cooking, or simple household chores. This is all important learning, so parents should embrace what they can and take it one step at a time.

Make a schedule/Have a routine 

Routine is helpful for most people. Children will be more likely to feel safe and secure in these uncertain times if there is a consistent plan for their learning that they have helped to create. Parents are encouraged to make a schedule with their children and post it in a visible area; this way everyone has the same expectations. However, parents should not feel that their entire schedule has to be focused only on school work. Parents should also plan for relaxation and family time. 

Make space for learning

All homes are different and each have challenges when trying to organize learning activities. When and where possible, parents should identify areas where children can learn in the best possible way, such as using a kitchen for cooking, a table for drawing or writing, a garage for exploring mechanics, a comfy chair/floor for reading, and the yard or land for exploring outdoors. If possible, parents should try to set up any available technology such as Wi-Fi access, email addresses to communicate with teachers, and set reasonable rules around screen time, instant messaging, video calls and online games.

Internet safety

Parents should understand that it is okay for children to have increased screen time during this unprecedented time; however, they should still be aware of what their children are doing online and ensure they understand basic internet safety rules. 

How to Support Student Learning at Home

Parents are a child’s first teachers and the home is a child’s first classroom. As key resources for learning and growth, parents help to shape a child’s social, emotional and physical development so that he/she can thrive in school and beyond.

Supporting student success starts with a shared agreement among families, schools and the community to work together and it involves committed actions to make it happen.

10 Tips for Parents

As a parent, you can do your part at home to reinforce this important family-school partnership. To help prepare your children for school readiness to stay on track and expand their learning opportunities:

Engaged parents are a key factor in helping students and schools succeed. With families, schools and communities working together as partners, student achievement is enhanced and children are better prepared to do well in school.



3.5                     Role of family in facilitating inclusive education


It is an accepted notion that every child is like every other child and every child is unlike every other child. Every child is unique in his own ways. Some are bright, some are dull. But regardless of these differences, everyone has equal right to develop their potentialities. Inclusive Education protects the right of all disabled students by integrating disabled child with non-disabled in regular classrooms with provision for extra help for the disabled. One of the several factors which determine the success of inclusion is family support and involvement. Parents are known to be the first teacher of their children and they continue to influence their children learning and development during lifetime. Family involvement can have a major impact on student’s learning, regardless of the social or cultural background of the family. 

As we all know that parents are first teacher of student who educates them by all mean so today’s requirement is that parents of disabled children have a say in how education should be provided to children with disabilities. It is necessary to involve parents in the planning of the implementation of Inclusive Education Policy.  As Parents do not understand what is required of them; they feel inferior and do not understand their role in implementation of Inclusive Education Policy (IEP).

EENET (Enabling Education Network) was established in April 1997 in response to the information needs of inclusive education practitioners, particularly in Africa and Asia. EENET promotes easy to read and relevant discussion documents and training materials. It believes that education is much broader than formal schooling, and need not only take place within the four walls of a formal classroom. The home, family, and traditional and informal systems of education are essential for the educational inclusion of all children. Family members of disabled children often have a great deal to teach the professionals because they have an intimate knowledge of their child and their particular impairment. Similarly the families of other marginalized groups have a great deal to 'teach' the teachers about their way of life and belief systems. Greater family and community involvement in formal education is essential to the inclusion process. 

Inclusive education services allow children with disabilities to stay with their family and to go to the nearest school, just like all other children. This circumstance is of vital importance to their personal development. Interrupting a disabled child's normal development may have far more severe consequences than the disability itself. In this context, it is important to stress the role of parents have. They have a right to be involved in all decision-making concerning their child. They should be seen as partners in the education process. Where there is such co-operation, parents have been found to be very important resources for the teachers and the schools.

The parents were also trained to communicate more effectively with teachers and other professionals. They are now confident that their experience of being parents of disabled children is extremely valuable. They did not receive special training to be the parents of disables children, and they don’t think that teachers would benefit from special training. They prefer a problem-based approach to training and together with ministry staff they are able to advise teachers in the school setting. None of the teachers has ‘special’ expertise in a particular impairment or an increased salary. All the teachers are responsible for ensuring that disabled children are included. The teachers in the pilot schools, together with the parents, are a major resource for promoting inclusion in society