This week, you will begin a pilot research study to inform your philosophy and approach to family and community engagement as well as participate in the research process. A pilot study is similar to a “practice run” before conducting the actual study. Sometimes it helps the researcher decide if this is the topic he or she wants to pursue for further research. Often, the pilot study is used to test certain methodologies to be used in the larger, actual study. In the Master of Arts in Education (MAED) program, you will most likely be conducting some kind of research in your Capstone course.
The assignments in the next three weeks will help you in the following ways:
- Inform you about family and community engagement that occurs from current early childhood professionals.
- Help you develop your final philosophy and approach statement for family and community engagement.
- Allow you to participate in action research (research that will directly impact practice or emerge from practice) and inquire about current or future issues of interest in your job.
Prepare for Written Assignment and Research
Visit, call, or send an email to the director or a staff member of the early childhood program you identified in the Week One discussion, “Defining Family and Community Engagement.” Ask if you can visit the program and conduct an interview with the director or with another staff member the following week. Find an early childhood program that is willing to help you conduct the interview by the end of that week. If visiting is not convenient for the director or yourself, ask if a phone or email interview would be possible. If you cannot reach anyone to conduct this interview, contact your instructor as soon as possible.
Writing the Assignment
Include the following sections in your written assignment. The assignment should be three to five pages, in addition to a separate title page and a separate reference page, and formatted in APA style. Format your writing as follows: MS Word, double-spaced, 12-point font, one-inch margins all around. Proofread your paper before submitting it.
- Create a profile of yourself as an educator. The profile will include your preferred teaching style, an in-depth look at your experiences as an educator (if you have not worked with children, you have most likely been an educator with your own children, family members, co-workers, church members, etc.), and how that experience impacts your teaching style and your philosophy on how children grow and learn (this is not the same as your philosophy on family and community engagement but will overlap). Build on the theoretical perspective you developed in last week’s discussion as well as your experiences. You must cite one scholarly source (in addition to the textbook and required readings) in your profile. Create your profile before you begin writing your philosophy statement and approach. If you have had to do some of this thinking, reflection, and creation in another course, contact your instructor if you would like to re-use portions for this assignment.
- Create your philosophy and approach to family and community engagement. Build your philosophy statement from the bulleted items you created for last week’s discussion, “Philosophical Perspectives on Family and Community Engagement.” Be sure to incorporate concepts we have addressed in the course discussions thus far and also draw from your direct experience working with families, if you have them. Your philosophy statement and approach should align to a theoretical perspective. You must cite one scholarly source (in addition to the textbook and required readings) in your philosophy and approach statement.
- Identify three questions you would like to ask during the interview with the director or staff person in the early childhood program. The questions should focus on some aspects of family and community engagement to help support or expand your philosophy statement. If you are currently working with young children and their families, try to think of questions that relate directly to issues that have arisen for you. If you are not currently working with children and families, these questions can be ones you have curiosity about. Discuss the reasons why you chose these questions.
- Scully P., Barbour, C., & Roberts-King, H. (2015). Families, schools, and communities: Building partnerships for educating children (6th ed.) [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/
- Chapter 3: Viewing Family Diversity
- Chapter 4: Understanding Roles and Experiences of Parents
- Christian, L.G. (2006, January). Understanding families: Applying family systems theory to early childhood practice. Young Children on the Web. Retrieved from http://www.naeycdev.org/files/yc/file/200601/ChristianBTJ.pdf
- Focuses on finding common ground in family goals instead of on differences in appearance or practice.
- Santora, L. (2012). How can you create a learning environment that respects diversity? Anti-defamation League. Retrieved from http://www.adl.org/assets/pdf/education-outreach/How-Can-You-Create-a-Learning-Environment-That-Respects-Diversity.pdf
- Gives explanation and ideas of how early childhood practitioners can create an inclusive learning environment that promotes healthy social identity.