Source: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Volume 28, Issue 2 April 2007, pages 141 – 152
Beginning teachers of young children often express concern that their professional preparation has not adequately prepared them to work effectively with families. This remains the case in spite of literature documenting the importance of involving parents in their children's early education.
This article describes a service learning project designed to give students early in their professional preparation an authentic opportunity be a resource for the families of the children with whom they have worked. Service learning is a particularly appropriate pedagogical approach to enhance students' confidence and competence working with families because it provides authentic and hands-on opportunities to apply course content.
This project effectively provided students an opportunity to assume a professional voice when working with families. It enhanced our program's success ensuring that our students take the requisite skills and dispositions to their work with families, while building their confidence and honing their communication skills.