Partnerships – Global Homework Experts

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The purpose of this assignment is for you to gather information to demonstrate your understanding of the importance of connecting and developing partnerships with families of the children in your centre or class/school, and the implications that children’s culture and home language have on the teaching and learning of English language and literacy.

Partnerships is one of five key principles outlined in the Early Years Learning Framework (DEEWR, 2009) as underpinning good early childhood education.  Partnerships involve educators creating a welcoming environment where families are respected and encouraged to collaborate with educators about curriculum decisions. When early childhood educators work in partnership with families, learning outcomes are most likely to be achieved (DEEWR, 2009, p. 12). When educators show a genuine interest in getting to know each child and their family as individuals then a sense of belonging and partnership begins to develop and it strengthens over time. Belonging is as important for family members as it is for children.

There are various ways in which centres and primary schools can connect and develop partnerships with families. Among them is the creation and distribution of newsletters. This assignment will allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the importance of building home-school partnerships by creating a newsletter with a focus on teaching an aspect of emerging or early literacy. In addition, you will also be able to demonstrate your understanding of the implications that culture and home language has for teaching and learning. 

This assignment supports unit learning outcomes 2, 3 and 4

 

 

sing the provide scenario, you are required to create a newsletter for a selected age group (e.g. 3-4-year-olds in ECE

 Your newsletter should include the following information:

A definition of the selected topic and an explanation as to why the topic is important for the teaching and learning of emerging or early literacy.

An outline of the benefits and potential risks associated with the chosen topic (dot points can be used for this section).

A description of a learning experience for your selected age group which includes:

a statement of the age group (e.g. 3-4-year-olds

a rationale of the learning experience (e.g. what the children already know, what they have been introduced to at the centre or class/school, and how this learning experience will help strengthen those skills)

an expected learning outcome of the learning experience which includes a link to a specific sub-outcome under Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators from the EYLF or a content description under the Australian Curriculum:  English (or a state equivalent e.g. Victorian Curriculum:  English).

a teaching strategy to support all children’s learning and development

a teaching strategy to support children with English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D)

An example of how parents and/or caregivers can assist children with their learning about the selected topic at home.

An invitation for parents/caregivers to share what they have done at home with their child(ren) and/or to provide feedback and suggestions.

Your newsletter should be written in layperson’s language. The tone should be professional, warm, welcoming and inviting. Ensure that your newsletter follows a logical order and it should be coherent and appealing for your target audience.  In addition, your folio must be properly referenced with in-text citations and a reference list using the APA referencing style. The reference list will also not be included in the word count.  

Note:  Your newsletter can be created using a Word Document. When you go to create a new document within Word, you can search for newsletter templates. Assignment 4: School Newsletter template (DOCX 1.27 MB)  Download Assignment 4: School Newsletter template (DOCX 1.27 MB)provided as a supporting resources section is an example of one of the Word document newsletter templates that you can use. However, feel free to choose a different template – there is a range to choose from.

Therefore, to give your newsletter a sense of originality, you can be as creative as you would like by including additional content such as the name of the ECE or primary school, identify yourself as the educator, use borders and/or images, include an upcoming centre/school event and/or a quote of the week/month and so forth. This additional content will not be included in the word count. 

References

All scholarly sources and other relevant sources referred to in your newsletter must be included in a reference list. Your reference list should start on a new page and it should be appropriately formatted in APA style. Note that the reference list will not be included in the word count.

 

Please note: You are required to submit your newsletter and your reference list using a single document (e.g. Word or PDF).

 

Assignment criteria: The depth and relevance of the content presented on the chosen topic visual literacy

The depth and relevance of the learning experience including the teaching of children with English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D).

The depth and relevance of the approach taken to connect and develop a home-school partnership.

The level of creativity and structure of the newsletter, including the use of relevant conventions of English: spelling, punctuation, grammar and syntax.

The citations used and APA style.

Your work will be assessed using the following marking guide

 

The content presented on the selected topic was synthesised and carefully constructed in a logical order.

Attributes of critical reading and critical thinking were evident throughout the discussion about the selected topic and its importance within the Australian educational context (i.e. ECE or primary school).

There was a high engagement with the scholarly and professional sources throughout this section of the newsletter.

The learning experience demonstrates attributes of critical reading and critical thinking.

There was a cohesive alignment between the rationale, expected outcome and the teaching strategies. The learning experience was developmentally appropriate.

The teaching strategy for children with English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) clearly demonstrates the implications of culture and home language for learning and teaching. 

There was a high engagement with scholarly and professional sources which was demonstrated across the newsletter.

The format and structure of the newsletter are written in a way that is inviting and appealing to parents/caregivers, and it is free of jargon and ambiguity.

The approach taken to connect and develop a home-school partnership demonstrates attributes of critical reading and critical thinking.

There was a cohesive alignment between the recommended example and the other sections of the newsletter with relevant sources to support. 

The invitation for parents/caregivers to share what happens at home, and/or to provide feedback or suggestions included added depth.

There is evidence of creativity and originality across the newsletter.

There is a high degree of structure and formality that is maintained throughout the work submitted. Therefore, there were no errors in the relevant English conventions that were found.

A minimum of 5 references was sourced to support the folio. 

The original work and others’ ideas have been cited in the folio and the reference list with the correct use of APA referencing conventions.

Some Answers from the lesson

 

 

(DEEWR, 2009, p. 12)

Two-way communication between parents and educators brings a wealth of information that supports the work of both families and educators. Educators need to create a variety of means by which they can convey information about, for example, the curriculum and the program, children’s language and literacy development and learning in general, as well as opportunities for sharing with individual parents about their child’s progress and needs. Educators should also create the means by which parents share their own knowledge about their children—their experiences, interests, likes, concerns and needs—and about the home and family culture. Educators should value the insights that parents can offer about their children.

 

Parent–educator partnerships entail educators and parents working together to provide the best opportunity for children to achieve optimal development and learning. Partnerships involve a high degree of collaboration between parents and educators in addressing important issues and requirements for children’s language and literacy development, and establishing practices that promote parents’ involvement in their children’s care and education. The underlying principle is that both parents and educators have a role to perform in children’s development and learning and that when they work together children have a greater chance of success. Parent–educator partnerships are most effective in supporting children’s progress when they have the following characteristics.

 

The benefits of parent–educator partnerships

 

When parents are involved in their children’s out-of-home care and education, and when educators draw on parents’ knowledge of their children, children’s transition from home to childcare, preschool or school is made easier. Educators are more easily able to ensure that development and learning programs take account of the diversity between families and respond positively to their cultural and social backgrounds.

 

When educators work in collaboration with parents, there are strong positive effects on children’s development and learning. Partnerships allow for children’s emergent literacy knowledge and skills to be more readily enhanced.

 

Parents have a strong influence on their children’s attitude to the centre or school, and partnerships can influence parents in encouraging their children’s development and learning in and out of these settings.

 

When partnerships lead to parents being in a more informed position, they are more likely to support educators’ goals for their children and their care and education practices.

 

Because the home environment becomes an element in the totality of language and literacy programs, parent–educator partnerships can assist in supporting children’s interest in, and engagement with, development and learning activities and experiences.

 

Parent–educator partnerships work to enhance parents’ understandings about the culture (values, attitudes, practices, behaviours) of the centre or school as well as educators’ insights about the culture of the home. This helps to counteract the effect of any cultural mismatches between each domain.

 

When parents are involved in the activities of childcare, preschool or school, they bring a new set of skills and expertise that can complement those of the educator and thus enhance outcomes for children.

 

When parents contribute their time to assist with childcare, preschool and school programs, more can be achieved and children can be given more adult support.

 

When parents assist they get to see and understand the way language and literacy is defined, and its development and learning is supported; what they learn can guide them in their support for children’s language and literacy at home.

 

When parent–educator partnerships include various practices for regular communication, educators and parents are more easily able to access each other, and important aspects about children’s development and learning can be more readily discussed.

Parent surveys

 

A parent survey comprises a written list of questions for the purpose of gathering information from parents about their children. It might have questions about children’s favourite home activities and their competencies and expertise, parents’ perceptions about children’s oral communication as well as the home literacy environment and family literacy practices. Surveys should be designed so that they can easily be completed by parents. This might involve the use of checklists or multiple choice answers or questions requiring yes/no answers. Parent surveys are useful for gathering family information that is important to educators in designing and implementing learning programs that make connections to children’s lives outside of the centre or classroom. A parent observation sheet is a different type of survey which can be used for parents to record their observations about their child’s language and literacy growth.

 

Family literacy and emergent literacy

 

Print-rich environments and family literacy practices—reading books and other texts, plus songs, rhymes, games and conversations—support children’s literacy development in a number of areas. Although there can be a wide variation, depending on the types of experiences and interactions around these experiences, they might include:

 

identification of letter names and sounds and identification of some words by their shape or initial letter/sound

 

understanding that letters make words and words make sentences

 

phonological awareness (familiarity with rhythms, intonations and prosody of language)

 

book concepts (e.g. how to hold a book, concept of reading from front to back, turning pages)

 

print concepts (the words read come from the printed text, print is oral language mapped to letters and words, print is read from left to right and from top to bottom of the page)

 

having a substantial expressive and receptive vocabulary (words and their meanings)

 

familiarity with story language (for example, ‘Once upon a time …’, ‘One day …’ or ‘Finally the bear came upon a large cave’) and story structure

 

listening skills (listening with concentration, understanding and remembering)

 

purposes of reading and writing (understanding of the functional uses of print in life)

 

type of texts and communicative purposes (narratives are imaginary texts; they are primarily written to entertain people and non-fiction texts are written to present facts or true information about a topic or topics)

 

comprehension (reading is about making meaning) and comprehension strategies (visualise, summarise, self-question and connect own knowledge to book content)

 

oral language proficiency (e.g. vocabulary, morphology, syntax).

 

These early literacy skills and understandings are the building blocks for success in learning to read and write and they are part of what is often referred to as ‘emergent literacy’ (Clay, 1987; Rohde, 2015). Emergent literacy is a phase of literacy learning that paves the way for, and eventually progresses to, standard reading and writing.

 

Literacy is a developmental process and children move through different phases of the development. Each phase is characterised by the achievement of certain understandings about literacy and of particular literacy skills and concepts. However, the components (skills and concepts) are not necessarily developing simultaneously; each has its own developmental path (Rohde, 2015). The degree to which children receive experiences in the family that support emergent literacy strongly correlates to their success in learning to read and write at school (Snow, Burns & Griffin, 1998; Rohde, 2015; Morrow, 2018).

 

Family literacy diversity

 

It is important to understand that no typical family experience of oral and written communication applies to all children. Children grow up in very diverse homes, families and communities, each characterised by its own unique set of social and cultural features. It cannot, therefore, be assumed that all children are provided with the experiences, the types of literacy models and the oral interactions that satisfactorily develop emergent literacy and contribute to later literacy success.

 

Family contexts will vary in terms of family unit structures, routines (for example, meal times, bed times, leisure activities, parenting roles), social and economic conditions, parent literacy levels, family stresses, child rearing and other cultural practices and values, and beliefs. All these factors interact to shape the literacy practices of the home.

 

Differences in literacy practices from family to family might lie in the amount and type of book reading and the use of written texts, the amount and style of interpersonal communication, and the level of parental guidance in building up knowledge about literacy. For some children, family literacy might be more oriented towards oral communication and involve less engagement with print-based texts. For some there might be rich and varied oral interactions, but for others a limited access to new vocabulary and different patterns of language. Some children might be raised in environments where talk is at a minimum. Daily storybook reading may be a part of some family routines but not of others, or there may be countless experiences with oral storytelling but not with the reading of books.

 

Initiatives: Family and community literacy

 

Because of the significance of children’s family and community literacy to the learning of reading and writing, a large number of community and school programs have been established that assist children with important literacy experiences. They are usually designed for children in the years before formal schooling and are often set up within a community health centre or library. Many childcare centres, preschools and primary schools also provide families with an understanding of home literacy practices for their young children. The impetus to support family and community literacy is founded on the now well-established understanding of the relationship between home literacy and learning to read and write, and of the diversity of young children’s literacy experiences in the family. These programs serve to support families to engage their children in experiences that foster the development of emergent literacy at home and school and work towards closing the gap between the literacy learning of all children.

 

Better Beginnings (Barratt-Pugh, Rohl, Oakley & Elderfield, 2005) is one successful home literacy support program. It aims to foster parents’ understanding of their roles as children’s first educators and to increase their understanding of emergent literacy development and of appropriate home literacy experiences for children in the first three years of their life. Through the Better Beginnings program, every family with a new baby in Western Australia is provided with a children’s book as well as a variety of other resources that support emergent family literacy practices—information about the value of sharing books with children, recommendations of other good books for infants and toddlers, a growth chart depicting the words of a number of nursery rhymes, and information about useful library resources. Additionally, families are provided with access to childcare and child development workshops and a wealth of ideas for incorporating literacy learning experiences into the everyday home and community experiences of families. The ideas are ‘flexible and varied enough to connect with all families including those that do not share a reading culture and whose children are at the greatest risk of not developing [emergent] literacy skills’ (Barratt-Pugh, Rohl, Oakley & Elderfield, 2005).

 

The success of the program has been well established. A recent evaluation highlights the positive influence the program has had on parents’ understanding of the importance of sharing books and their confidence and frequency in doing so (Barratt-Pugh & Rohl, 2016). Additionally, there has been an increase in the number of children’s books in the home and the use of community libraries to access books and other home literacy resources. Positive changes in child literacy practices and children’s attitude to books and reading were also observed (Barratt-Pugh & Rohl, 2016). The success of the program means it has now been extended to include older children (4–5 years) and children (birth–5 years) living in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

 

Another successful program was developed to support Aboriginal children’s transition from preschool to formal schooling and to ensure that the children were adequately prepared to deal with the literacy learning demands of the school (Maher & Bellen, 2015). The importance of this program is established by research that suggests that Aboriginal children’s transition to school is likely affected by differences between Aboriginal and mainstream language and culture (Webb & Williams, 2018).

 

The program’s design was based on the premise that effective literacy initiatives for Aboriginal Australian children involve:

 

understanding that ‘school literacy’ is just one perspective of literacy; there are other perspectives and ways of ‘doing literacy’.

 

pedagogy that makes use of children’s family and community experiences and specific cultural knowledge can foster children’s attitude to and engagement with learning.

 

partnership with communities and families, trusting relationships and common goals for children’s development are important factors of successful programs for the education of Aboriginal children.

 

(Maher & Bellen, 2015)

 

Implementation of the program involved a series of initiatives that comprised working with local community elders and other community members, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal school leaders, children’s families and preschool educators. In the first instance, the program coordinators talked with Aboriginal elders to discuss the program and seek their input. Consulting community elders remained a steadfast practice when challenges arose, innovations were developed and decisions had to be made.

 

The program strategies and activities comprised a range of experiences which included:

 

Making and using culturally relevant books: Each of the preschool children were provided with a disposable camera with which they were to take photos of things in the home or community that interested them. The children’s photographs were made into individual books that also included their dictated text. The books, which were produced in enlarged format, were shared with classmates and taken home to be shared with families.

 

Expedition to country: The children visited the community’s traditional lands where they were able to witness community elders tell Dreaming stories, sing and dance. Photographs of the experience were used to make big books, which the children later read. Also, the books inspired the children’s spontaneous dramatic play about different experiences of the day. Copies of the books were placed in the classroom for their use when they entered Year 1.

 

Commercially produced picture books were introduced to the preschool children. The introduction of each new book was extended over time, thus motivating interest and providing a sense of excitement.

 

The program’s strong focus on Aboriginal Australian ways of ‘knowing, being and doing’ was pivotal to its success. The children’s interest in and engagement with written texts was acquired by the use of books with culturally significant topics with which the children could identify (Maher & Bellen, 2015). It would seem that the program’s recognition of family and community culture and its ability to establish a level of consistency between home and school learning and priorities (Webb & Williams, 2018) has had bearing on these Aboriginal children’s learning experiences.

 

Parent–educator partnerships

 

parent–educator partnerships

 

Educators and parents working together to provide the best opportunity for children to achieve optimal development and learning.

 

Parent–educator partnerships entail educators and parents working together to provide the best opportunity for children to achieve optimal development and learning. Partnerships involve a high degree of collaboration between parents and educators in addressing important issues and requirements for children’s language and literacy development, and establishing practices that promote parents’ involvement in their children’s care and education. The underlying principle is that both parents and educators have a role to perform in children’s development and learning and that when they work together children have a greater chance of success. Parent–educator partnerships are most effective in supporting children’s progress when they have the following characteristics.

 

EYLF

Partnerships’ is one of five key principles outlined in the EYLF as underpinning good early childhood education. It involves educators creating a welcoming environment where families are respected and encouraged to collaborate with educators about curriculum decisions. When early childhood educators work in partnership with families, learning outcomes are most likely to be achieved (DEEWR, 2009, p. 12).

 

Two-way communication

 

two-way communication

 

Reciprocal communication between parents and educators.

 

Two-way communication between parents and educators brings a wealth of information that supports the work of both families and educators. Educators need to create a variety of means by which they can convey information about, for example, the curriculum and the program, children’s language and literacy development and learning in general, as well as opportunities for sharing with individual parents about their child’s progress and needs. Educators should also create the means by which parents share their own knowledge about their children—their experiences, interests, likes, concerns and needs—and about the home and family culture. Educators should value the insights that parents can offer about their children.

 

Visual literacy and its importance in the ­twenty-first century

 

It is quite some time since Anstey and Bull (2000, pp. 5–6) pointed out that: ‘Communication has changed over time so that the cognitive and intellectual demands made by the syntax of the language is lessened while there has been an increasing sophistication demanded by the visual medium … Increasing technological advances means, among other things, increasing use of visual text and iconic language.’ Through digital technologies, young children are increasingly encountering multimodal forms of texts (Kress, 2003), or texts that are made up of more than one symbol or sign system. (A symbol or sign system can be thought of as a ‘mode’ of communication. Symbol systems can be written, pictorial, gestural, spoken or musical.)

 

Moreover, pictures and diagrams in modern texts may have a different role from that which they had in the past; the visual mode of text used to be mainly illustrative in that pictures were primarily used to decorate or support words—words carried most of the meaning. These days, visual texts do so much more than this. Sometimes, images have meanings that support written text, but at other times they may tell a different or parallel story, or may even be accompanied by no written text at all (‘wordless’ picture books). In wordless texts, images, whether still or moving, carry all of the meaning.

 

Visuals in written texts bring an extra ‘layer’ of meaning that can complicate the task of making meaning for readers, and for young children who are still learning how the print system operates, this extra layer of meaning can present considerable challenges (Coleman, Golson Bradley & Donovan, 2012). Picture books, for example, are increasingly sophisticated and the visuals play an important role in the meaning of the text—they are not merely illustrative but are integrated with the written text (linguistic mode) to create meaning. As explained in Chapter 2, on children’s literature, Nikolajeva and Scott (2001, cited in Martinez & Harmon, 2012) suggested five different relationships between visuals and written text in picture books:

 

symmetry—where words and illustrations impart similar meaning

 

complementary—where words and illustrations convey different but complementary information

 

enhancement—where words and illustrations extend or expand upon each other’s meaning

 

counterpoint—where words and illustrations tell different stories

 

contradiction—where the words and illustrations seem to contradict one another.

 

Informative texts, such as science readers and textbooks, nowadays feature a host of sophisticated graphics and pictures, including cut-aways, arrows and icons, charts and diagrams that young children need help to unpack and comprehend (Coleman, Golson Bradley & Donovan, 2012; McTigue & Flowers, 2011). Comics and graphic novels are increasingly used in the classroom; these texts have features such as sequences of panels, speech bubbles and thought balloons, different fonts to convey different moods and emotions, call-outs, and white gutters or spaces between panels where the reader may have to make inferences about actions (Smith & Pole, 2018), as well as a range of conventions specific to the comic genre (for example, superhero, manga, fantasy, non-fiction).

 

Children need to learn how to critically make sense of the visual and multimodal texts that surround them, some of which are extremely sophisticated. There are visual texts for a range of different purposes, such as to entertain, to persuade and to describe; children need to learn what visual texts are for and how they relate to the other modes. Furthermore, they need to learn how to compose or create visual and multimodal texts for a range of purposes and audiences, choosing appropriate linguistic and visual devices to achieve desired effects.

 

Defining viewing or visual literacy

 

A universally agreed definition of visual literacy does not exist (Williams, 2007). However, Frey and Fisher (2008, p. 1) venture: ‘We think of visual literacy as describing the complex act of meaning-making using still or moving images. As with reading comprehension, visually literate learners are able to make connections, determine importance, synthesise information, evaluate and critique.’

 

This definition highlights the importance of meaning-making processes. As in comprehending or writing traditional written texts, the comprehension and compositions of visual texts involves employing cognitive processes, such as questioning, predicting and clarifying. These processes must be taught.

 

It can be useful to think of visual literacy or viewing in a similar fashion to the way in which we think of reading and writing: there are visual codes and conventions to be understood, audiences and purposes to be taken into account, and it is necessary to use a variety of processes and strategies in order to make meaning, whether this is expressive or receptive. Also, the viewer’s cultural and experiential background will impact upon meaning-making, as will their ability to think critically about the creator’s craft and intentions.

 

As already mentioned, it is important not to see viewing as separable from reading and writing. In reality, these are all elements of literacy and meaning-making, and multimodal texts require readers to pull together a variety of meaning-making strategies and resources. Reading and viewing are interdependent. Children need to learn how to comprehend and create (compose) multimodal texts and to understand the role of the various symbol systems involved, and how these systems impact upon each other.