Child Development Report 2

Child Development Report

Long Beach City College-Child Development and Educational Studies

CDECE 48- Socialization Report

Image result for socialization symbols"
Child Development Report

Purpose: To explore how the contexts of your life have shaped the person you are today and to reflect on how your own personal socialization context is related to the theories and concepts you have been introduced to in our class.Skills: In writing this paper you will practice the important skill of applying child development theory to a real-life example (in this case- your own development).Knowledge: This assignment will help you to build understanding of the following· The concept of “context”· Bioecologial Theory· The development and impact of attachment.· The major socializing agents in a child’s life and their impact.Task:· Step 1: Read chapters 1 and 2 in your text and explore the supporting resources the in our Canvas site.· Step 2: Respond to each of the following prompts· #1: Write a summary that describes your family or caregivers (who you grew up with) and a general overview of how your experiences growing up have impacted how you live your life today.· #2 Connecting to chapter 2, describe your experience with attachment. Did you have one or multiple attachment? To who? How do you know? Did you experience any barriers to attachment? If so which ones? If not, why do you believe so?· #3: Describe your current microsystem and how the different people or systems within it interact (mesosystem)· # 4: Identify and describe at least 4 agents of socialization (examples at the bottom of page 5) and provide examples of the influence of each in your own life.· Each question should be listed (you can just cut and paste the questions into your document)· Each question should be answered in complete, standardly formatted paragraphs with details and examples· References to the text book, supporting resources and lecture materials should be cited accurately.· Step 3: turn in your typed socialization report to Canvas byCriteria for Success:· Review the rubric on the following page- this is how you will be graded for this assignment· To get the maximum points possible aim to meet all of the criteria under “exceeds expectations”· Connect with your instructor if you do not understand any of the criteria· Use the rubric as a check for yourself before you turn in your final draft of your paper.· Typically, a response that earns full points will be between 2-4 standardly formatted pages long.Socialization Report-Grading RubricLevel of accuracyExceeds ExpectationsMeets ExpectationsApproaches ExpectationsDoes not Meet ExpectationsPoints possible3210Presentation· Typed, Grammar, punctuation, spelling and sentence structure are accurate. Under 5 mistakes· Each answer is listed directly under each prompt· Each prompt is answered and the answer is clearly related to the prompt.· Prompts 2-4 each have at least one meaningful, accurately cited text quote· Typed, Grammar, punctuation, spelling and sentence structure are accurate. No more than 10 mistakes· Each answer is listed directly under each prompt· Each prompt is answered and the answer is related to the prompt.· Prompts 2-4 have a text reference· More than 10 grammar errors, but they do not detract from the meaning of the content.· Prompts are not defined clearly· Each prompt is answered and the answer is somewhat related to the prompt.· Prompts 2-4 do not all have a text reference or the reference is not meaningfully related.· Numerous grammar errors that make the content difficult to understand· Prompts are not defined clearly· One or more prompts is unanswered and/or is unrelated to the prompt· Text references are inaccurate and/or missingPoints possible75-64-32-0Content· Information about attachment shows a strong understanding of the topic. All information is accurate with correct terminology and clear examples.· Information about the Bioecological theory shows a strong understanding of the topic. All information is accurate with correct terminology and clear examples.· Information about the agents of socialization show a strong understanding of the topic. All information is accurate with correct terminology and clear examples.· Information about attachment shows a basic understanding of the topic. Most information and terminology are correctly used· Information about the bioecological model shows a basic understanding of the topic. Most information and terminology are correctly used· Information about socialization shows a basic understanding of the topic. Most information and terminology are correctly used

Child, Family, and Community Family-Centered Early Care and Education

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Seventh Edition

Janet Gonzalez-Mena

Child Development Report

Boston Columbus Indianapolis New York San Francisco Upper Saddle River Amsterdam Cape Town Dubai London Madrid Milan Munich Paris Montreal Toronto

Delhi Mexico City Sao Paulo Sydney Hong Kong Seoul Singapore Taipei Tokyo

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Vice President and Editorial Director: Jeffery W. Johnston Executive Editor: Julie Peters Editorial Assistant: Pamela DiBerardino Developmnet Editor: Jon Theiss Executive Product Marketing Manager: Chris Barry Executive Field Marketing Manager: Krista Clark

Program Manager: Megan Moffo Production Project Manager: Janet Domingo Full-Service Project Management: Lumina Datamatics Composition: Lumina Datamatics

Credits and acknowledgments for material borrowed from other sources and reproduced, with permission, in this textbook appear on the appropriate page within the text.

Every effort has been made to provide accurate and current Internet information in this book. However, the Internet and information posted on it are constantly changing, so it is inevitable that some of the Internet addresses listed in this text- book will change.

Copyright © 2017, 2013, 2009, 2006, 2002 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Manufactured in the United States of America. This publication is protected by Copyright, and permission should be obtained from the publisher prior to any prohibited reproduction, storage in a retrieval system, or transmission in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or likewise. To obtain permission(s) to use material from this work, please submit a written request to Pearson Education, Inc., Permissions Department, One Lake Street, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458, or you may fax your request to 201-236-3290.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Gonzalez-Mena, Janet, author.

Child, family, and community : family-centered early care and education / Janet Gonzalez-Mena. — Seventh edition. pages cm

Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-13-404227-5 (alk. paper) 1. Socialization. 2. Child rearing. 3. Families. I. Title. HQ783.G59 2017 649’.1—dc23


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

ISBN 10: 0-13-404227-1 ISBN 13: 978-0-13-404227-5

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To Shaquam Kimberly Edwards, contributor to this edition. Shaquam took on what I consider the hardest part of this revision—

making it into an e-book. She stepped in willingly and capably to meet the creative challenges of bringing the book to life digitally. I’m

forever grateful for her contributions! I wrote the first edition of this book on a typewriter. Putting later editions on the computer was a big step forward for me. Shaquam took me into the e-book era, gracefully

and enthusiastically, for which I’m thankful.

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A seminal report published by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) was released just as this revision was about to go to press, titled “Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Founda- tion.” One of the themes of the report relates to making higher education programs for professionals more effective with a goal of supporting consistent quality. This report couldn’t be more timely coming out as it did at the same time as the 7th revision of Child, Family, and Community. We are ready for change as a nation. We are ready to be sure that those who work with young children get an excellent education to prepare them for further study, for being a contributing part of the community, and for all-round mature development. Right in line with transforming the workforce comes the transformation of this Child, Family, and Community textbook. The 7th edi- tion, now in an e-text format, is startlingly different from the many revisions that preceded it.

This revision, as others in the past, focuses on contexts—the contexts in which children are reared and educated. It’s not about “the child” or even “children” because those words have no meaning by themselves. Each child is born and raised in mul- tiple social contexts. This text is about the influences of all those contexts. Nurturing and protection of each child must be viewed in terms, not only of the family, but also of the community—its neighborhoods, people, cultures, and institutions—both local and national. Care-and-education institutions are part of this context.

As in earlier editions, the major theories around which this book is based in- volve the community being the context in which child rearing takes place, no matter what shape or form the families take. This book still focuses on families, but also on the people and agencies outside the family. Some of those people who are using this text are now, or will become, those professionals who work with families and their children.

New to this editioN E-Text Format Anyone used to the black and white paperback book will see a world of difference when they take their first look at the new e-text format. There is no comparison. Not that both the e-text and the paper book aren’t greatly updated with the latest information and research, but the new format as an e-text has a number of engaging new features. Note that the Pearson e-text format contains the following digital components: video links, interactive section quizzes called “Check Your Understanding,” and end-of-chapter quizzes; other e-text formats do not currently contain these interactive digital elements.

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vi Preface

Videos Links to video in every chapter of the e-text augment the written word. As students read from the screen, they know that with one click, video appears with further information that comes in a variety of ways. Sometimes the informa- tion comes from the mouths of the researchers whose work is mentioned in the chapter. Certainly when students hear from academics who have contributed so much to the field of child development and early childhood education, everything becomes more personal and meaningful. Sometimes students see video clips that demonstrate what the researchers talk about. We look into live classrooms to see examples of various approaches of working with groups of children—or with individuals—or with family members. Footage of actual teachers in classroom scenes show examples of what is discussed in writing. Child development infor- mation is portrayed by children themselves in families and in classrooms and more. Community resources come alive as users talk about their experiences. Sometimes the focus is on the environment, which offers inspiration for those students who work in programs that lack rich, or even adequate, developmentally appropriate settings. Often we see and hear people who represent the community resources found in neighborhoods. We also have a chance to see examples of children’s behaviors at different developmental levels.

The many videos, three to four in each chapter, bring information beyond the words in the text and bring it in living color with sound and movement. Further, the videos have reflection questions in the text to promote thought or classroom discus- sion. What could be more meaningful for the generations that are media savvy and know how to use it to their advantage!

A New Interactive Assessment Feature Called “Check Your Understanding.” This new feature, which has been added at the end of each major section in each chapter, is a multiple-choice assessment that aligns with, and asks questions about, each Learning Outcome. The correct answer is noted and feedback is provided. Students can then see what they have learned from reading each section. This makes good sense and is quite effective. They can immediately determine what they for- got or misunderstood, which allows them to go back and reread so they retain the information.

Interactive End-of-Chapter Quizzes At the end of each chapter there are short-answer format quizzes, with feedback, to assess student understanding—and reinforce learning—of chapter content.

Color Photos Of course there are also still photographs as always—pictures that give visual em- phasis to the concepts written about. In the e-text the photographs are in living color—quite a contrast to black and white photos with “yesteryear” invisibly stamped on them.

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Preface vii

other chaNges aNd additioNs Reorganization of Each Chapter Helping students grasp and retain what they read is important in any textbook. To that end, every chapter has been more clearly organized with an average of three major Learning Outcomes, with corresponding headings, followed by three to five topic headings that relate to the subject(s) in each major heading. This organization makes it easier for students to follow and remember the information.

Examples of New Topics and Expanded Previous Ones ◆ Gender roles. Discussion and research about young children developing gender

roles has been greatly updated and expanded. ◆ Mindset. Carol Dweck’s theory on how to help children move beyond a “fixed

mindset” that leads them to give up in the face of even a minor failure. Informa- tion and examples are included of how to encourage an open mindset. Children with an “open mindset” keep going even when failure occurs or seems inevitable. An open mindset leads to exploration and growth.

◆ Grit. Angela Duckworthy and others explore how what they call “grit” helps people stick to challenges, persist, and achieve success.

◆ Self-esteem. Not a new subject but an important one. The topic of self-esteem has been reworked and expanded in this edition.

A Change in the Order of the Chapters Chapter 2, “The Societal Influences on Families” (including racism), was too emo- tionally laden to come so early in the term according to users. That chapter is now Chapter 6, which works better after students have gotten to know each other.

Updated “Further Readings” Twenty to thirty percent of the list at the end of each chapter under “Further Read- ings” has been replaced with updated resources.

Highlighted Major Points A new marginal feature of key brief points from the author are added for interest and emphasis.

fouNdatioNal ideas suPPortiNg this Book ◆ Theory is presented in easy to understand language. The book rests on a

base of solid academics, constructivist theory, developmental research, anthro- pological studies, and the personal experience of the author.

◆ The chapters place an emphasis on the ecological theory of human devel- opment. Every chapter shows how professionals and families can partner to

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viii Preface

support healthy growth and development so that the child functions fully as a competent community member.

◆ The book emphasizes cultural contexts. Valuing diversity, plus acknowledging and understanding cultural contexts, has always been an important foundation of this book. The new edition puts even more emphasis on perceiving and appre- ciating cultural differences in order to embrace them. The attitude of acceptance that develops challenges the students to expand their definitions of “develop- mentally appropriate practice.”

◆ Reflection on personal experience is encouraged. Readers are asked to bring their own ideas, experiences, and insights to their reading—in accordance with Jean Piaget’s ideas about learners attaching new knowledge to existing knowl- edge. In other words, readers are encouraged to reach into their own experiences to make sense of new information in terms of what they already know. They are encouraged to see how that same approach works equally well when relating to families and conveying information to them. Whether a student, a teacher, or a parent, respect for one’s own background, experiences, knowledge, ideas, and insights is important. Because whatever we read always filters through our own subjective experiences, this text acknowledges that fact and capitalizes on it. Thus students can feel at home and find their own voices. They are asked to do the same for the children and families they work with.

◆ Anecdotes and examples are provided throughout. Each chapter contains stories and examples designed to take the subject out of the realm of theory and into the real world of practice. Examples are designed to appeal to both tradi- tional and non-traditional students, reflecting the changing demographics of the United States.

◆ Advocacy is emphasized. The “Advocacy in Action” feature appeals to those students who want to “do something!” about improving the lives of children, families, the education systems, and society in general. This feature gives stu- dents ideas about ways of being public and personal advocates.

iNstructor suPPlemeNts to this text All ancillary resources for instructors are available for download by adopting profes- sors via in the Instructor Resource Center.

Instructor’s Resource Manual: This manual contains chapter overviews, activity ideas for both in and out of class, and ways to integrate the digital content into your course.

Online Test Bank: The test bank includes a variety of test items in various formats.

Pearson TestGen: This test-generation software is available in various learning management system formats. Download and use as is or create your own exams with provided items and your own items. Test items included are the same items in the Online Test Bank.

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Preface ix

Online PowerPoint Slides: PowerPoint slides highlight key concepts and strategies in each chapter. They can be used to enhance lectures and discussions, or can be posted on your learning management system as an additional study resource for your students.

ackNowledgmeNts Special thanks to the reviewers of this edition: Vernell D. Larkin, Hopkinsville Community College; Tonia Pa- drick, Cape Fear Community College; Tasha Smith, Solano Community College; and Shaquam Urquhart Ed- wards, College of Marin.

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Brief Contents

Chapter 1 The Child in Context of Family and Community 2

Chapter 2 Supporting Families around Issues of Attachment and Trust 22

Chapter 3 Supporting Families with Autonomy-Seeking Youngsters 44

Chapter 4 Sharing Views of Initiative with Families 72

Chapter 5 Working with Families of School-Age Children 98

Chapter 6 Societal Influences on Children and Families 124

Chapter 7 Understanding Families’ Goals, Values, and Culture 150

Chapter 8 Working with Families on Guidance Issues 172

Chapter 9 Working with Families on Addressing Feelings and Problem Solving 194

Chapter 10 Working with Families to Support Self-Esteem 218

Chapter 11 Working with Families around Gender Issues 242

Chapter 12 Stress and Success in Family Life 262

Chapter 13 Early Care and Education Programs as Community Resources 284

Chapter 14 Supporting Families through Community Resources and Networks 308

Chapter 15 Social Policy Issues 326

References 345

Index 369

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ChaptER 1 the Child in Context of Family and Community 2 Looking at Context through Bioecological Theory 4

Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model 4 Family-Centered Approaches 6

Family-Centered Defined 7 The Benefits of Family-Centered Programs for Children 7 The Benefits of Family-Centered Education Programs for

Teachers 8 The Benefits of Family-Centered Programs for Families 9 Mutual Benefits 9

History of Family-Centered Care and Education 10 Challenges to Creating Partnerships with Families 13

Multiple Lenses through Which to Look at Family-Centered Approaches 14

The Family Systems Theory Lens 14 The Whole Child Lens 16 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs 17 Culture as a Lens 19

Summary 20 Quiz 20 For Discussion 20 Websites 20 Further Reading 21

ChaptER 2 Supporting Families around Issues of attachment and trust 22 How Attachment and Trust are Related 23 The Development of Attachment and Trust 25

How Secondary Attachments Occur 28 Attachment Behaviors 29 Signs of Attachment in Infants 30

Obstacles to Attachment 30 Temperament and Attachment 31 Developmental Differences 32 Learning to Cope with Feelings of Loss 33

Varying Attachment Patterns 36 Bowlby and Ainsworth’s Research 36 Questions about Classic Attachment Research 37 Judging Attachment in a Cross-Cultural Situation 38

Effects of Child Care on Attachment 39

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xiv coNteNts

How Caregiver and Parent Roles Differ 40 Attachment in Full-Inclusion Programs 41

Summary 42 Quiz 42 For Discussion 42 Websites 42 Further Reading 43

ChaptER 3 Supporting Families with autonomy-Seeking Youngsters 44 Signs of Developing Autonomy 46

Negativity 46 Exploration 47 Self-Help Skills 49 A Sense of Possession 53

Dealing with Issues of Power and Control 55 Set Up a Developmentally Appropriate Environment 55 Appreciate Play 57 Encourage Self-Help Skills 59 Give Choices 59 Provide Control 60 Set Limits 61

Coping with Loss and Separation 63 Taking Separation in Small Steps 63 Entering Child Care 64

Partnering with Families of Toddlers 66 Working with Families around Issues of Identity Development 66 Broadening Perspectives 68

Summary 69 Quiz 69 For Discussion 69 Websites 69 Further Reading 70

ChaptER 4 Sharing Views of Initiative with Families 72 What Initiative Looks Like in a Four-Year-Old 73

Analyzing Initiative in a Four-Year-Old 74 Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 75 Developmental Conflicts 77 Imagination and Fantasy 78

The Value of Play for Young Children 79 How the Environment Contributes to a Sense of Initiative 81 Dimensions of Play Environments 82

How Adults Contribute to Children’s Initiative 83 Special Considerations for Children with Disabilities 85 The Shy Child 87 A Look at Aggression 88 Teaching Problem-solving Skills 91 Empowering the Preschool-Age Child 92

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coNteNts xv

Summary 95 Quiz 95 For Discussion 96 Websites 96 Further Reading 96

ChaptER 5 Working with Families of School-age Children 98 School is Different from Preschool 99

A Family-Centered Approach to Kindergarten 100 The School-Age Child and Stages of Development 100 Differences Families Notice between School

and Preschool 103 Finding Out What Families Want for Their Children 105

Teaching Prosocial Skills and Morals 107 Looking at the Decision-Making Process as a Way of

Exploring Morals 108 The Power of Adult Attention 111

Paying Attention to the Behavior You Want to Continue 111 Using Affirmations 113 Children’s Response to Positive Adult Attention 114 Empty Praise versus Encouragement 118 Teaching Morals by Promoting Prosocial Development 120

Summary 122 Quiz 122 For Discussion 122 Websites 123 Further Reading 123

ChaptER 6 Societal Influences on Children and Families 124 Socialization and the Family 126

The Issue of Bias 128 Schools as Socializing Agents 134

Getting into Kindergarten 135 Classroom Behavior 136 Responding to Diversity 138 Inequity and Schools 139

Other Agents of Socialization 139 The Peer Group as an Agent of Socialization 139 Functions of the Peer Group 140 Media and Technology as an Influence on

Socialization 141 Commercial Advertising 143 Violence 144

Summary 148 Quiz 148 For Discussion 148 Websites 149 Further Reading 149

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xvi coNteNts

ChaptER 7 Understanding Families’ Goals, Values, and Culture 150 Cultural Differences in Goals and Values 153

How do the Goals of Independence and Interdependence Differ? 154

Contrasting Cultural Patterns 154 Conflicting Goals and Values 156

What to Do when Conflicts Arise 158 Helping Children Understand and Value Cultural

Pluralism 166 Supporting Home Language 167

Language Loss in Immigrant Children 167 Understanding the Advantages of Bilingualism 168 Language Relationships 169

Summary 170 Quiz 170 For Discussion 170 Websites 171 Further Reading 171

ChaptER 8 Working with Families on Guidance Issues 172 Discipline, Authority, and Cultural Differences 175

Changing the Word Discipline to Guidance 175 Inner Controls versus External Locus of Control 175 Teaching Self-regulation 177 Problems with Using Punishment to Teach 179 General Guidelines for Guiding Young Children 180

Discussing Preventative Measures with Parents 182 Guidance as Responding to Unacceptable Behavior 185 Summary 191 Quiz 191 For Discussion 191 Websites 192 Further Reading 192

ChaptER 9 Working with Families on addressing Feelings and problem Solving 194 Feelings 195

What are Feelings? 199 All Feelings are Useful 199 Learning Feelings 200 Social Referencing 200 Cultural Scripts 201 The Importance of Accepting Feelings 203 Healthy Expressions of Feelings 204

Teaching Children to Cope with Feelings 206 Developing Self-Calming Skills 206 Coping by Playing Pretend 207

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coNteNts xvii

Coping with Simultaneous Feelings 208 Coping with Fear 208 Coping with Anger 209

Problem Solving 211 Using the RERUN Problem-Solving

Process with a Child 211 Problem Solving as a Cultural Issue 212 Problem Solving and Parenting Styles 213 A Deeper Look at the Four Parenting Styles 215

Summary 216 Quiz 216 For Discussion 216 Websites 216 Further Reading 217

ChaptER 10 Working with Families to Support Self-Esteem 218 Exploring Self-Esteem as a Road to Success 219

Culture and Self-Esteem 220 Dimensions of Self-Esteem 222 The Role of Beliefs and Expectations in Self-Esteem 224 Where Does Self-Esteem Come From? 225

Promoting Self-Esteem 226 Give More Honest Feedback and Encouragement Than

Praise 227 Give Children Opportunities to Experience Success 227 Children Learn from Failure 230

Celebrating Differences: An Anti-bias Approach 231 Bias Can Hurt 233 Cultural Differences and Self-Esteem 234 Changing Negative Messages to Positive Ones 237

Summary 239 Quiz 239 For Discussion 239 Websites 240 Further Reading 240

ChaptER 11 Working with Families around Gender Issues 242 Why it is Important to Think About Teaching Gender

Roles 243 Issues around Gender Roles 243 Some History Related to Genderized Clothing 245 Equity Issues and Gender Roles 246 The Women of Today 246

Gender Equity and Parenting 249 Toys and Gender Roles 250 The Power of Language 252 Using Modeling to Teach 253

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xviii coNteNts

Differential Socialization 254 Differential Treatment from Parents 256 Differential Treatment in Preschool 256 Differential Treatment in Elementary School 257 Guidelines for Parents and Educators 258

Summary 260 Quiz 260 For Discussion 261 Websites 261 Further Reading 261

ChaptER 12 Stress and Success in Family Life 262 Varied Images of Families 263

Ways in Which Families Can Vary 263 Families and Stress 264 Giving Legitimacy to Cultural Differences and Lifestyles 265

Successful Families 266 Traits of Successful Families 268 Images of Successful Families 269 Six Families 271

Stress as a Positive Force 278 What We Can Learn from Studies of Resilient Children 279 Helping All Children Become Resilient Children 280

Summary 282 Quiz 282 For Discussion 282 Websites 283 Further Reading 283

ChaptER 13 Early Care and Education programs as Community Resources 284 Defining Types of Ece Programs 285

Exploring the Various Types of ECE Programs 285 Changing Times 288 Early Care and Education Programs as Child-Rearing

Environments 290 The State of Child Care in the United States Today 292

Affordability and Availability 292 Status and Salaries 293 Looking at Quality 294

Partnering with Families 295 Adult-Child Interactions in Child Care and Early Education

Settings 295 Including Everybody: Children with Special Needs 297 Having Concerns about a Child 299 Questions Concerning Continuity between Child Care and

Home 300 Roadblocks to Mutual Appreciation, Respect, and Support 304

Summary 306 Quiz 307

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coNteNts xix

For Discussion 306 Websites 307 Further Reading 307

ChaptER 14 Supporting Families through Community Resources and Networks 308 Social Networks 309

Developing a Broad Base of Support 310 Forms Social Networks May Take 311 Community Institutions That Serve Families 312

Families Using Community Resources 314 Sara’s Family 314 Roberto’s Family 315 Junior’s Family 316 Michael’s Family 317 Courtney’s Family 318 The Jackson Family 319

Connections to the Community 320 A Summary of Community Resources 320 Finding Community Resources 321 Availability of Community Resources 322

Summary 323 Quiz 324 For Discussion 324 Websites 324 Further Reading 324

ChaptER 15 Social policy Issues 326 Who is Responsible for America’s Children? 327

Does Every Child Get an Equal Start? 327 Ready to Learn: A Goal for All of America’s Children 329 Private Citizens Making Changes 330

Benefitting Children and Families through Financial Investments 331

Head Start 332 Child Care 332 Moving Toward Full-Inclusion Programs 336

Advocacy 337 Adequate Health Services and Nutrition for All 338 Taking a Preventive Approach 339 Violence and Its Effect on Children and Families 340

Summary 342 Quiz 343 For Discussion 343 Websites 343 Further Reading 343

References 345

Index 369

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Learning Outcomes In this chapter you will learn to…

• Explain how to look at context through the lens of bioecological theory. • Describe the implications of family-centered approaches, including the

benefits to children, teachers, and parents. • Explain the history of family-centered care and education. • Define multiple lenses through which to look at family-centered

approaches, including family systems theory, whole child perspective, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and culture as a lens.


The Child in Context of Family and Community

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The Child in Context of Family and Community 3

Why is the title of this book Child, Family, and Community? Here’s why. Many people go into the profession of teaching in general and into early care and education specifically because they love children. They find they relate well to chil- dren, and they enjoy being with them. When these individuals start taking classes, they find that their studies focus on the development and education of children. The course for which this book is designed also focuses on the child, but with a difference. This book takes the position that children must be looked at in context—meaning that each child must be viewed in the context of his or her family, and each family must be viewed in the context of the community/communities/society to which it be- longs. Taking this larger view of each child will help readers remember to always keep the context in mind, no matter what aspect of child development and/or education they study.

What are the various contexts that families come in? Culture is certainly one overarching context which relates to ethnicity, and is affected by socioeconomic level, family structure, sexual orientation and all the other variables that make this particu- lar family what it is. Immigrant status, if any, is also a context. With immigrant num- bers increasing, language and cultural diversity are becoming more obvious, though ours has always been a diverse country. In one sense we are all immigrants except for people who were on this continent first, those who can be considered indigenous. Their descendants are still here. The rest of the population is made up of immigrants, whether willing or unwilling (Ogbu, 1987). This list of influences on families repre- sents just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a sample of all the ways in which families differ from each other by their contexts. For more information about America’s children and families, see the website for the Kids Count Data Center.

Another huge influence on children is the community. The child and family are always placed in a community context. What community a family is in makes a big difference. My husband’s family moved from Puebla, Mexico, to the San Francisco Bay area in California many years ago—when my husband was 21 years old. They left behind countless relatives. When we visit those relatives and their descendants, we can see the different courses their lives took from those who moved to the United States. Just a few of the influences that have affected the U.S. family and the Mexican family in different ways are the changing international, national, and local political situations; the economies of the two countries and the lo- cal economies; and the changes that occur when one culture bumps up against another one, as is happening in both coun- tries.

Education, development, learning, and socialization al- ways occur in a context, and any specific context is embedded in a web of ever-changing other contexts. There is no such thing as a decontextualized child. To study “the child” without understanding the context is like studying a statue of a cat in

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Each child must be viewed in the context of his or her family

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order to understand its life. This whole book is about the education and socialization of the child in context. Simply put, the book examines the child in the context of de- velopmental theory, which comes in the context of family, which lies in the context of community. All of these contexts can be thought of as environments or settings that hold people, which influence each other and are influenced by culture.

Understanding the bigger picture of how the child becomes a social being in context has been the theme of this book along with a further area of focus and that is on working with the family. Rather than making parent education and involve- ment just one component and dedicating a chapter to them, this book is about family-centered care and education. To understand both the child and the family in context, we need an encompassing theory.

LOOKING AT CONTEXT THROUGH BIOECOLOGICAL THEORY The history and foundations of family-centered care and education go way back. Something I learned as a student in an early childhood class in 1967 stuck in my mind. “Your client is not the child, but the family.” The teacher of that class, Lilian Katz, University of Illinois professor and a pioneer in the field, made that statement. I’ve never forgotten what she said, but it has taken many years for the field as a whole to begin to understand and embrace that concept. This book is dedicated not only to expanding the understanding, but also to giving specific strategies to the reader about how to take that concept out of the theoretical realm and into the early childhood classroom, child care center, or family child care home.

Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model This particular slant and organization falls in line with the model that Urie Bronfenbrenner first laid out for us in 1979. When he wrote that there are layers of context, he referred to a set of Russian dolls that are nested inside each other, the smallest one at the core. The organization of the book relates to Bronfenbrenner’s layers. Simply put, what Bronfenbrenner called a bioecological model of human development means that every child is at the center of what can be visualized as concentric circles of context set in an overarching system of time, which affects all the contexts and changes them continuously (see Figure 1.1). The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) published a document that referred to Bronfenbrenner as “the man who changed how we see human development.” The document can be found on the NIEER website.

The microsystems layer, the smallest of the contexts in which the child is em- bedded, is made up of the environment where the child lives and moves. The people and institutions the child interacts with in that environment make up the microsys- tems. Examples are immediate family, child care (teachers and peers), and perhaps neighborhood play area, depending on the age of the child; school and religious in- stitutions or spiritual groups may also be part of the system. The younger the child, the smaller the number of microsystems.

The microsystems are set in the mesosystems layer, which relates to the interac- tions the people in the microsystems have with each other—as parents interact with teachers or, in the case of infants, child care providers or early interventionists, for example. The child is not directly involved with all the components of the mesosys- tems but nevertheless is affected by them.

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The Child in Context of Family and Community 5

The exosystems layer is a wider context—and though the child may not have direct contact with it, the systems affect the child’s development and socialization—as do all the systems. Because the people in the child’s life are af- fected by the exosystems and mesosystems, the child is also. The exosystems can be thought of as the broader community, including people, services, and environ- ments. Examples of what is in the exosystems layer are extended family, family networks, mass media, workplaces, neighbors, family friends, community health systems, legal services, and social welfare services. An example of how the exo- systems affect the child shows up when a parent goes to work or gets laid off from work. The changes in the parent’s life have an impact on the child’s life. Another example of an exosystem affecting the microsystems is when a family has to move because their apartment building is scheduled to be torn down to make room for urban renewal.

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Figure 1.1 Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model Source: Based on Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

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The outer layer, called the macrosystems, contains the attitudes and ideolo- gies, values, laws, and customs of a particular culture or subculture. The chrono- system comprises the largest and the most outward layer of the embedded circles. Brofenbrenner used the chronosystem to hold events that occur over a span of time. It could include family transitions such as divorce or relocations as well as socio- historical events such as the terrorist attack on the United States that happened on September 11, 2001.

The point of the bioecological model is that each component interacts with other components, creating a highly complex context in which the child grows up. Another point is that the child isn’t just a passive recipient of what goes on in his or her life. The child at the center of Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model

interacts directly with the people in the microsystems and some in the mesosystems, and the effects of the interaction go both ways. As people affect the child, so the child has an influence on them. Another point is that nothing ever remains static. As a result, the child, systems, and environ- ments are ever changing. Milestones and life events occur as time passes, the child grows, and the contexts change.

FAMILY-CENTERED APPROACHES So understanding the child in context, as per Bronfenbrenner’s theory, brings up some important questions. One such question is this one that relates to the human service sector: How can early interventionists, social workers, teachers, or child care providers work to support a child without working with the family and the community? Obviously they can’t, especially when the family is one that has multiple issues going on, all of which affect the children in the family. One program in California works with children in low-income families in a poverty community to ensure their health and well-being (Bernard & Quiett, 2003). Of course, there is no way to focus on a child, even one in crisis, without addressing the bigger picture. This particular program used home visitors who were qualified social workers and also had to work with the services in the community—a two-pronged approach.

Not only did the program focus on the child, but it also involved the family, plus the human service agencies the family need to interface with.

Another more widely known pro- gram, one that is much larger and hugely funded, is Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City. Canada’s goal has been not only to have every child finish his or her edu- cation by graduating from college but also to improve the community in which children are growing up. The Harlem Children’s Zone has a comprehensive website that highlights their national model for breaking the cycle of poverty: education, family and community pro- grams, and health. Paul Tough (2009)

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Social workers may conduct home visits and connect families with community agencies

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The Child in Context of Family and Community 7

writes the story of what was involved, including parent support, starting with prenatal parenting classes. It became quickly evident that no matter how supportive the program was, there was a good deal of work to be done in the child care and education system and other community services if the children were to succeed in school and in society.

A third example of a family-centered approach is Head Start, which uses a Parent, Family, Community Engagement Framework to work with young chil- dren from low-income families. Head Start has long been a leader in the early childhood field by introducing a major parent, family component from the very beginning. To learn more about the Head Start Community Engagement Frame- work, the PDF document can be downloaded from the Head Start website.

That brings us to educational services. Here’s a big question: Why is it that so many education systems don’t do what the three examples just de- scribed do? Instead many programs expect families to send their children off to child care, preschool, or school and leave the families themselves out of the picture except for enrollment, parent night, and parent/teacher conferences. Since the first edition of this book, that situation has begun to change from programs that called themselves child centered to those that take a family-centered approach. Part of the reason for this movement is increasing re- gard for the greater context the family is in, which includes culture, ethnicity, and economics, among others, all of which influence the family’s physical and social location in the neighborhood, community, and greater society (Bloom, Eisenberg, & Eisenberg, 2003; Epstein, 2001; Fitzgerald, 2004; Gonzalez-Mena, 2009; Keyser, 2006; Lee, 2006; Lee & Seiderman, 1998; McGee-Banks, 2003). Leaders in the move- ment see the importance of including the families in all aspects of their children’s schooling, care, and education.

Family-Centered Defined What is a family-centered approach? A family-centered approach takes the individual child and the group of children out of the spotlight and instead focuses on the chil- dren within their families. In the case of educational programs, that means that parent involvement isn’t something the teacher does in addition to the program for children, but that the program includes the family as an integral, inseparable part of the child’s education and socialization. Families, along with their children, are the program.

What does a family-centered program look like? Family-centered programs offer a variety of services, services in tune with what the parents as individuals and as a group need and want. But more than just services, they offer partnerships between professionals and families. Collaboration is a key word. The point is for professionals to become allies with families and share power. In a partnership, each partner brings a special set of strengths and skills that enhance the group. Through building rela- tionships and ongoing communication the partnership results in mutual learning as both sides share resources and information with each other. Everyone benefits: the early educators, the families, and the children!

The Benefits of Family-Centered Programs for Children When parents and teachers work together they enhance children’s emotional security, which facilitates development and makes it easier for them to develop and learn. The children also benefit when their strengths and needs as individuals are

Watch this video to see Geoffrey Canada speak about the Harlem Children’s Zone. What do you think about the impact of what he refers to as the pipeline that starts at birth? 1H0k2TDZF7o

Watch this video about the comprehensive nature of the Head Start program. What do you think of the teacher preparation requirements that are described?

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understood in their family context. Continuity between home and program can be another benefit as teachers and parents understand each other bet- ter. There’s a better chance for cultural consistency as a result of the parent- professional partnership or at least an understanding of and respect for cul- tural differences. Children’s identity formation is enhanced when children don’t have to experience uncomfort- able feelings around the differences between what they learn at school and what they learn at home.

When children see adults mod- eling healthy, equitable relations in their interactions with each other, they receive a huge benefit. They learn that adults aren’t just polite to each other, but have rich, authentic exchanges and even disagreements.

Children gain by seeing how those adults solve their disagreements without harm- ing their relationships with each other. If those adults deal with their own biases and increase their ability to communicate across differences, children are watching equity in action, which goes beyond trying to teach children to be fair by using an antibias approach (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2010).

Because positive relationships are important to development, security, and get- ting along with others, “relationships” is the first item listed in the accreditation standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). (For complete information on the NAEYC Accreditation Standards and Criteria, visit their website.) What better way to encourage relationships than to model them every day as professionals and adults interact and collaborate?

The Benefits of Family-Centered Education Programs for Teachers Teachers and early educators who understand the child within his or her family con- text can do a better job of supporting development and teaching that child as well as working with the group of children. It makes the job more satisfying as teachers watch children gain in trust and self-confidence. Teachers can learn new and effec- tive teaching and guidance strategies as they observe parents and exchange informa- tion with them. There is always a lot to learn about cultural differences, in particular (Cervantes & Hernandez, 2011; Espinosa, 2010).

Since the majority of teachers are European Americans (Ray, Bowman, & Robbins, 2006), most have a good deal to learn about cultures other than their own. As professionals learn more about other cultures they can enlarge their views and gain knowledge and insights on child development, education, desired outcomes, and approaches related to these views. Families add richness to a program and provide resources to professionals.

As parents learn from teachers, they too can gain insights about their children. Sometimes the close contact with families brings teachers attention, acknowledgment,

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The Child in Context of Family and Community 9

and appreciation that they might not receive otherwise. Partnership-type relation- ships can be very rewarding! Through relationships with families teachers can become more a part of the local community, if they aren’t part of it already.

The Benefits of Family-Centered Programs for Families Families today often feel isolated. Gone are the days for many of the old extended family where somebody was home or close by to give support or lend a hand to family members who needed it. A family-centered program can become like an extended family to those who desire such a thing.

When families are not part of their children’s education, they have to just hope that what the program provides for their children is the same as what they want. That can be a big problem. Barbara Rogoff, author of The Cultural Nature of Human Development, said, “The goals of human development—what is regarded as mature or desirable— vary considerably” (2003, p. 18). So if children are to spend big chunks of their lives throughout their childhood in educational programs, it makes sense that the goals of the program match the goals of the families, or at least don’t contradict them. With pressures to conform to outcomes and desired results by policy makers and funding sources, it becomes even more important for parents to be knowledgeable and vocal.

Just as teachers can learn from parents, so can parents learn from teachers who look through a child development framework as they observe the children in the school environment with their peers (Copple & Bredekamp, 2009). This gives parents a broader view than just knowing that child in the context of home and family. Families can gain greater knowledge of resources from the professionals in their children’s program.

Mutual Benefits Family-centered programs can expand everybody’s horizons. One benefit for both teachers and parents is that of self-knowledge about their own culture—the beliefs and values that come from their roots and group membership. This benefit occurs whenever teachers and parents run into practices that seem wrong, or at least uncomfortable, and are able to talk to each other nonjudgmentally about their differences so they can come to understand not only their own but the other person’s views (Im, Parlakian, & Sanchez, 2007). Barbara Rogoff, in her book The Cultural Nature of Human Development, has advice about how to expand awareness of one’s own culture as well as understand the patterns behind the thought and behavior of other cultures. She suggests that when you run into something you don’t understand, it’s best to put aside value judgments at first. Once you can see your own cultural patterns you are in a better position to understand others and determine whether a value judgment is necessary or not.

Families, including their children, and professionals gain from the collaborative relationship in several other ways, including:

◆◆ Enhanced communication as the groups relate to each other around shared power and decision making

◆◆ Supportive relationships leading to networks of mutual support

The community also gains when families and ECE programs work together. These partnerships increase the chances of a better-educated population and a more pluralistic society, one that values the richness diversity brings. As families and professionals work together, another ultimate outcome can be equity and social justice growing from mutual understanding and acceptance.

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If you look back on what you’ve just read, you can see how it fits in with Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model. The child, in his or her microsystem, is

influenced by family, teachers, and peers who are also influenced by the me- sosystems, exosystems, and also macrosystems, which are where cultural differences, values, customs, and ideologies come in. Laws are part of that outward system as well and are influenced by the culture, values, and ideolo- gies of the people who make them. The chronosystem, the outside layer, in turn affects all the other systems.

HISTORY OF FAMILY-CENTERED CARE AND EDUCATION The roots of family-centered care and education go way back. As professionals we’ve always known that families are important to children, whether those children are at home or in early care and education programs. We have research to back us up, some of it from a pioneer, John Bowlby (1969, 1973), a researcher noted for his attachment theory and his study of the harm resulting in separating children in hospitals from their parents. We know now about attachment and hospitalization; we are still learning about attachment and education.

Head Start, mentioned earlier, was born in the Mississippi Freedom Schools and is still going strong today. During the War on Poverty of the mid-1960s it became a federally funded comprehensive preschool and social services program with not only a mandate for parent involvement and education but also built-in devices for parents to have some say in the education of their young children in the preschool years. Several generations now have been through Head Start. Today Head Start teachers are sometimes grown-up Head Start children, as are some of the directors.

Urie Bronfenbrenner, mentioned earlier, was co-founder of Head Start. His Ecology of Human Development had a big influence on creating family-centered programs. He emphasized that the abstract concept of “the child” doesn’t exist ( Bronfenbrenner, 1979, 1994). His ideas not only caught hold in Head Start, but expanded the program downward to include infants and toddlers, the idea being not so much to educate the babies but to work with the families because they are the ones that have the greatest influence on their children’s lives.

Pioneer parent educator Ira J. Gordon (1968, 1976) created a program in Florida back in the 1960s involving parents of infants with the goal of improving child out- comes. He studied parent education and involvement and eventually came up with a hierarchy of types of involvement (Olmsted et al., 1980), moving from parents being recipients of information, to learning new skills, to teaching their own children, and becoming classroom volunteers. The two top kinds of involvement are becoming a paid paraprofessional and, finally, taking on the role of decision maker and policy advisor.

Today you can find elements of these various levels of involvement in many kinds of programs, including Head Start, other kinds of preschools, kindergartens, and grade schools. Some programs involve parents more than other programs.

The special education law PL 94–142, called the Education of All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, mandated parent involvement in planning for the education of the child. Each child identified with a disability or special need must have an Individual Educational Plan (IEP), or if an infant or toddler, an Individualized Fam- ily Service Plan (IFSP). A group of professionals along with the parents create these

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The Child in Context of Family and Community 11

plans. According to the law and the re- authorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1990 and 1997, parents must be involved in all aspects of their children’s education. PL 108–446 aligned special education with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation in 2004 and continued the mandate for parent involvement and power so that families disagreeing with a diagnosis or placement can call a hearing.

The “parent as the child’s first teacher” is a motto now and a widespread notion throughout early care and education. Parent education materials, classes, and videos are available for new parents to see how important they are to their babies. Preschools involve parents in a variety of ways including volunteering in the class- room. One first-grade teacher has parents come in to the classroom twice a week first thing in the morning to read to their children. Most kindergarten and primary teachers encourage parents to help children with their homework. Also those same teachers usually encourage parents to help their children by finding a quiet place to do their homework and take an interest in school and what their children are learning.

That motto of “parents as the child’s first teacher” can also be interpreted in another way in family-centered programs, which emphasize a broad range of parent-support services. Of course parents are welcome to come into the classroom, but they are not mandated to do so. The focus of the support is to help parents with whatever they need rather than telling them how to be involved in their child’s education or that they have to take the role of teacher. Some families find that through the kind of support they gain from the program staff and other families in the program, they are better able to organize their lives so they can support their children emotionally and meet their basic physical needs for nutrition, rest, and exercise. Children whose physical and emotional needs are met have the focus and energy for learning. These are real basics.

Douglas Powell wrote about the family-centered program movement way back in 1986. He talked about how many programs at that time were making a shift toward family-orientation (1986, p. 50). Powell used Head Start as an example when he wrote about the shift from child-focused programs to family-centered ones. Head Start today, in its many forms, still makes the family the client. In 1998, Powell acknowledged that the movement toward family-centered programs wasn’t as widespread as it should be. He illustrated this using a metaphor of programs as a piece of fabric made of three col- ors of thread—one color each for children, staff, and parents. He described the most common pattern as a weaving of the child and staff together; the parents end up in a separate section. Many programs still show this same pattern. The family-centered program would make a different fabric, with the parent threads woven throughout the pattern so that all three colors of thread are integrated. In a family-centered program there is no separate section of the pattern just for parents (Powell, 1998, p. 60).

The Epstein Model, based on Gordon’s roles for parent involvement, was created by Joyce Epstein (2009), who wrote a handbook called School, Family, and Community

Preschools involve parents in a variety of ways including volunteering in the classroom

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Partnerships. The handbook lists the six types of partnerships that reflect Gordon’s hierarchy using a little different language and going one step further to include “collaborating with the community.”

Here is Epstein’s list:

◆◆ Parenting ◆◆ Communicating school-to-home and home-to-school ◆◆ Volunteering ◆◆ Helping students learn at home ◆◆ Decision making (including families as participants in school decisions, gover-

nance, and advocacy through PTA/PTO, school councils, committees, and other parent organizations)

◆◆ Collaborating with the community

As parents move up the “involvement ladder,” they move beyond thinking about just their own children and becoming an advocate for them to looking at advocating for all children, including ways to improve the program, the school, or the system (see Figure 1.2).

Family-centered care and education is a giant step forward from parent involve- ment hierarchies. It involves a much larger vision of families being vital parts of their children’s care and education.

The NAEYC supports family-centered programs saying, “Young children’s learning and development are integrally connected to their families. Consequently, to support and promote children’s optimal learning and development, programs need to recognize the primacy of children’s families, establish relationships with families based on mutual trust and respect, support and involve families in their children’s educational growth, and invite families to fully participate in the program” (NAEYC, 2005, p. 11). The NAEYC also came out with a book, From Parents to Partners: Building a Family-Centered Early Childhood Program (Keyser, 2006), and instituted a proj- ect in 2007 called Strengthening Family-Teacher Partnerships, which started with several “training the trainer” institutes.

The Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) has been and is still aggressively working on linking families to their children’s educational programs. When parent involvement takes the form of family support, there is evidence that it can lower


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Figure 1.2 Six types of parent partnerships that lead parents to move up the involvement ladder, based on the Epstein model

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The Child in Context of Family and Community 13

stress levels in parents and make their lives easier. The HFRP website has links to areas of research and resources.

The Parent Services Project (PSP) was started in the 1980s by Ethel Seiderman in California as a mission to strengthen families by having them take leadership in assuring the well-being of children, families, and commu- nities (Lee, 2006; Lee & Seiderman, 1998). PSP now provides training, tech- nical assistance, and consultation nationally to help programs and schools engage families. Instead of merely involving families, the approach they take is to provide a wide variety of services that reflect the interests and needs of the families enrolled. Instead of predetermining what will be offered, the programs are designed to involve families in deciding, planning, and organiz- ing the activities. As a result, programs trained in the PSP approach find increased parent involvement, leadership, and participation, which strengthens community ties and leads to effective community building (Pope & Seiderman, 2001; Seiderman, 2003). The Parent Services Project website highlights the organization’s mission, values, programs, and events.

One of the goals of many programs working with parents is child abuse pre- vention. An approach to preventing child abuse is to focus on what are called “protective factors.” Examples of protective factors are: parental resilience, social connections, parenting skills, and child development knowledge. When profes- sionals identify a family at risk for child abuse, they can help most by considering, supporting, and augmenting protective factors. Professional support and help in times of need can go a long way toward lowering child abuse incidents. Early care and education professionals are a logical group for working with parents to gain positive results and lower the risk of child abuse. The delivery system comes from early care and education professionals who learn how to support parents, provide resources, and teach coping strategies that will then reduce stress and prevent child abuse.

One of the premises of all these family-centered early care and education pro- grams is that they work better when professionals understand families and involve them in respectful ways. Instead of the teacher just sharing information with fam- ilies, there is two-way information sharing. This is true for general early care and education programs and also for special education. There is some evidence that parent involvement is a critical factor in early intervention programs. The rationale is that parents spend more time with their children than early interventionists and should take an active role in the interventions, not just turn their children over to the specialists. Parents have many more opportunities to influence their children’s learning and development, and involvement in their children’s programs expands their knowledge of and skills in specific ways for their individual child (Mahoney & Wiggers, 2007; Turnbull, Turbiville, & Turnbull, 2000).

Challenges to Creating Partnerships with Families Responsiveness to families is a theme of this book. It’s hard sometimes to be respon- sive when you think you know more than the family does. Obviously professionals have funds of knowledge from their training, professional education, and experience that most families don’t have. Families also have funds of knowledge that profes- sionals don’t have (Gonzalez, Greenberg, & Velez, n.d.). It’s the professionals’ job to acknowledge that fact and to learn from parents as well as teach them. It’s more of a sharing of knowledge than it is imparting. It also requires suspending judgments

Watch this video about the Patrick O’Hearn School in Boston, Massachusetts, and how school communities change when families become involved. Does the idea of parent involvement bring up feelings of excitement or apprehension for you?

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when the professional thinks families are wrong or misguided, even if research backs up the professional. Consider this quote from Asa Hilliard III (2007):

The great error in behavioral research, now acknowledged by prestigious schol- ars, is that in most cases there has been a failure to take context into account. Research tends to proceed as if constructs, methods, instruments, and interpreta- tions in culturally embedded studies are universal. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most researchers are ill prepared to do research in a culturally plural environment or to deal with hegemony as it relates to culture.

Rogoff sees that the theories of development studied by teachers and human development specialists have particular ways of regarding development and goals to aim for that reflect the values of the culture of those who create the theories. Not coincidentally, those values usually relate to the developmental theorists own life. (2003, p. 18). Most human development theorists come from a strong literacy back- ground and therefore have held literacy as the hallmark of a successful outcome of development. Piaget, a scientist and thinker, saw the development of reason as the ultimate outcome of development. From these theorists’ points of view, it’s easy to see societies as primitive when they don’t hold these same values or visions.

Hilliard (2004) also has a concern about how the lens of culture is often left out of what he calls mainstream psychology. Though he’s looking at the field of psychol- ogy rather than human development, the two fields overlap in many places. Hilliard observed that mainstream psychology rarely shows any academic or scientific expertise in culture. In fact, according to Hilliard, many scholars seem to believe that cultural

diversity matters are “more political than scientific.” He went on to say that there is real resistance among many traditional psychologists to engage in the required scientific study and dialogue about these cultural matters. “Their cul- tural naiveté is almost legendary.” When one looks through a cultural lens, one sees sets of realities that are different from what has been analyzed and studied in the name of psychology and human development.

MULTIPLE LENSES THROUGH WHICH TO LOOK AT FAMILY-CENTERED APPROACHES Context is important. This book emphasizes going deeper to understand children and families in the context of their environment and their community. Context can be viewed from a number of lenses. One of them is Bronfenbrenner’s bioecologi- cal theory, which includes culture as one aspect of context. Scholars who create and study developmental theories should always use a cross-cultural lens. Anthro- pologists can help here. Both Rogoff and Hilliard say cultural contexts should be considered when trying to understand individuals and groups—their development, perspectives, and lifestyles. That particular lens, the cultural lens, was viewed as a challenge in the preceding section. Here I want to look at three more lenses through which to look at children in families and communities.

The Family Systems Theory Lens Another way to understand context and use your understanding to work with families is family systems theory. I first encountered this theory when I read Virginia Satir’s Peoplemaking and heard her speak, back in the 1980s. To explain the universality of her

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The Child in Context of Family and Community 15

theory, she used an analogy of the human body—that any surgeon who studies medi- cine can operate on any human in the world because the organs are the same. The theory behind family systems theory is that families may be very different in many ways, but they all have some things in common and that is that they are governed by systems. One such system is communication, and another is rules. All families communicate with each other. How and to what extent differs, but communication is a given. All fami- lies have rules—what they are and how they are carried out is different for each family.

The lens of family systems theory puts the focus on the way the family works rather than on the behavior of any individual in it (Parke & Buriel, 2006). That makes the focus of the family therapist different from that of traditional therapists who work only with individuals. Family members are connected to each other; each one influ- ences the others, and all are influenced by the family system. Understanding those influences and the shifts that take place when changes occur in the family is what guides family therapists. Educators aren’t therapists and shouldn’t be doing therapy. Their job isn’t to diagnose family problems and fix them. Still, educators can find family systems theory useful to further their understandings of how the systems work in each family. Think of the theory as a framework for understanding in a deeper way.

Even though the systems themselves may be the same, they can vary greatly from one family to another in the way they operate. It’s also useful to realize that changes, even small ones, can affect the system and the individuals in it. When edu- cators look at a child through a family system lens, they realize that they can’t work on behavior changes in children all by themselves, because those children are part of family systems. I think back to times I’ve been in teacher meetings where a child’s challenging behavior is being discussed. A missing ingredient of these discussions was the family’s involvement.

Linda Garris Christian (2006) in her article about family systems and their relevance to early educators lists six systems that are useful to understand when working with families. The systems are: boundaries, roles, rules, hierarchy, climate, and equilibrium (see Figure 1.3). She says that all families have these systems, but they look very different from one family to another.

Take boundaries, for example, which relate to limits, togetherness, and separateness—what or who is in or out of the family. I remember an exercise from a workshop I attended where the group was asked by the facilitator to think about the family they grew up in. She asked how many grew up in a large family. When par- ticipants raised their hands, she then questioned them about how they defined a large family and who was in it. Their answers reflected differences in boundaries. One person counted 50 people in her family. She included blood relatives and close others. Her family might have been called a kinship network by some. Another had an even







Figure 1.3 Based on Christian’s view of family systems, there are six systems that are useful to understand when working with families

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larger family, and she included people who were no longer alive. Another person who came from a large family numbered six in her family—herself, her parents, and her three siblings. The boundaries in the families of the first two participants were much looser than those of the third participant as determined by the definition of family members—who was included and who was not.

How emotionally and psychologically close family members are to each other is another part of boundaries. In families where the priority is raising children to be more independent than interdependent, the boundaries are different from those fami- lies where interdependence is a top priority. Christian uses the term enmeshed to label families who are extremely interdependent. I bristled at that word. It seemed judgmen- tal to me. My experience with people I have known who come from families a therapist labeled enmeshed is that they emerged from therapy convinced they had “boundary issues” because they weren’t closer to the middle of the boundaries continuum. Disengaged is the term Christian used for the families on the other end of the continuum. Just think- ing about the cross-cultural views of boundaries in my own family gives me pause. If my mother and mother-in-law had studied to be family systems therapists, I’m pretty sure that my mother would have labeled my mother-in-law’s family as “enmeshed” and my mother-in-law would have called my mother “disengaged.” Having been part of both those families now for a number of years, I think both labels are too harsh. Certainly, put- ting on a cross-cultural lens makes a difference in how one views family boundaries that don’t fit one’s own ideas and experiences.

A danger of using the family systems theory is the temptation to play therapist. Another danger is judging other people’s family systems without regard to your own. Obviously early educators are the product of some kind of family systems, and just as we have to understand our own cultures, we have to understand our own fam- ily systems so we can stop just looking outward. “Know thyself,” said Shakespeare. That’s the lesson here.

Understanding and working with family systems theory is a much bigger and more complex job than just focusing on caring for and educating the developing child. But taking a family-centered approach is more complicated, too. The chal- lenges are great, but the rewards are as well.

All of these mandates to deal with the huge complexity in the program; the child, the family, and the community may seem overwhelming! I have warned more than once to be cautious. Perhaps my warnings are too strong and early educators will put aside who they are and what they know so they can just focus on opening up their minds to what the families they work with know. So at this point, it needs to be said that early childhood educators also have the responsibility to share their professional knowledge and personal beliefs with the families. This may be harder in a cross-cultural context and may take more sensitivity than when working with one’s “own people.” Nevertheless, information sharing has to be a two-way street.

The Whole Child Lens Educators learn from families, and families learn from educators. This issue becomes important when you realize that this book focuses heavily on the social-emotional aspects of development, even though school readiness and cognitive development are in the spotlight at present as more and more children are failing in school—even middle-class ones (Hernandez, 2011). School readiness is, of course, a concern for everybody, but professionals with a child development background often come at it from a different angle than some other professionals and families by recognizing

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The Child in Context of Family and Community 17

that social-emotional development is vitally tied to cognitive development.

Way back when I started in this field, I remember the families who came into the program where I taught wanting their chil- dren to learn to read. The same is true to- day. Family members sometimes arrive in programs much more focused on their chil- dren’s intellect than on their feelings and social abilities. Yet research indicates that matters of the heart are the very founda- tion of mental growth. A book called Toward a General Theory of Love (Lewis, Amini, & Lannon, 2000) gives eloquent scien- tific explanations for how emotional ties that link children to others create actual changes in the brain structure leading to stability, health, and the ability to think.

Early care and educational professionals study what has been called “the whole child.” The child is made of mind, body, and feelings, and one system is vitally tied into the others. Though child development books may tease out the parts and put them in separate chapters, in reality, the child is always a whole. No matter how much you want to promote school readiness, you can’t separate the intellect from the emotions.

What part does the body play in school readiness? How often does a parent look into the preschool play yard, see the children having a good time, and think, “How can they learn if all they do is play here?” Carla Hannaford (2005) answers that question in her book Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All in Your Head. She is clear that children need to move in order to think. The book brings compelling informa- tion from the neurosciences about the relationship of body movement to learning. This is the kind of professional information that early educators can share with par- ents so that families come to understand that care and education in the early years may be different from their own experience in their childhood or their concepts of what school should be like.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Another lens through which to look comes from a theorist whose model relates to the whole child concept. Abraham Maslow (1954) studied successful people instead of those with psychological problems coming up with what he called a hierarchy of needs. His model provides important information for anyone concerned with working with young children and their families. His theory rests on the idea that basic needs must be met for growth to occur. The most basic needs of all are physiological and include air, food, water, and rest. A hungry child is motivated to get food and uses all available energy for that end, energy that well-fed children use for going on to meet higher needs. On the next level up is the need for safety. One way that the safety need can be met in young children is by making their lives predictable. Some children especially find their security in the routines of the day. Change the routine, and feelings of safety disappear. Children crying at separation is another ex- pression of safety needs. The next step up is the need for love and belonging, though with the latest information about the importance of relationships to a child’s brain

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development, perhaps this need for relationship is as strong as the need for food, water, air, and rest. Esteem is the next step up in the hierarchy of needs. Self-esteem is part of this level as well as recognition from others. This step has to do with a feeling of self-worth. At the top of the pyramid (see Figure 1.4) is self-actualization, which reflects the need to live up to one’s potential—be all that one can be. Although originally Maslow worked to define the self-actualized person, later he de- cided that it’s an ongoing process that lasts a lifetime. So he changed the term to the self-actualizing person. Meeting all these needs is behind the ability to seek knowl- edge, learn, and develop. When children consistently come to school, child care, or early care and education programs hungry, they have less intellectual curiosity and motivation to learn than those whose nutritional needs are met on a regular basis. Head Start figured that out a long time ago and took the responsibility to meet the children’s daily nutritional needs. Subsidized school breakfast and lunch programs are based on the same idea for low-income children. This is an example of how the community can meet a child’s need when the family cannot. Another example of meeting a different kind of need is when teachers in a full inclusion program gain the skills needed to integrate children with special needs into the group of their typically developing peers so everyone has a sense of belonging.

To truly meet children’s needs in education and care programs, the focus must be the family, not just the child. When you relate to families in ways that make them feel understood and valued, you are doing a service to the child. The first goal is to help families feel supported by the program. But the educator’s job goes beyond

Physiological Needs

air*food*water*shelter*temperature*sleep* elimination*sex


security*protection*stability*freedom from fear

Love and Belonging




Self- Actulization

realizing personal potential

Figure 1.4 Based on Abraham Maslow’s pyramid of human needs

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The Child in Context of Family and Community 19

understanding, valuing, and supporting— most important of all is for families to have the voice to say what they need. That makes each program a little different, rather than some kind of standardized curriculum for parent involvement. It’s also very different to find out what families need than it is to just ask them to support the program’s goals. The idea is to take a collaborative approach (Gonzalez-Mena & Stonehouse, 2008). A col- laborative approach means that change not only occurs within the families, but also within the program as it begins to reflect those enrolled rather than just predeter- mined policies and practices (Powell, 1998). The movement for family-centered programs isn’t just about improving child outcomes, though that may be the focus of some of the leaders in the movement. Other leaders are most concerned about empowering parents through making programs more collabora- tive. These leaders come from the perspec- tive of parental rights; some also come from wanting to respect diversity and promote equity. Certainly, understanding how social support can lower stress factors and improve parental functioning gives advocates good reason to push for programs that address parents’ needs and create family-centered programs.

Culture as a Lens Culture found its way into each of the major sections of this chapter and also ended up in each of the subsections even when it wasn’t emphasized. Here at the end of chapter it gets its own heading. Culture is ever present though often unacknowledged. Culture always affects us, even though often it is invisible except when it bumps up against a different culture. Culture affects what we do, what we think, how we perceive, how we behave, and how we interact. It can even affect how we hold our bodies and how close we stand to someone we meet. Cultural differences are an ongoing theme throughout this book.

Another theorist featured prominently in this book is Erik Erikson. His clas- sic Childhood and Society (1963) explains how he studied the process of growing up in a variety of cultural and social settings. Erikson was fascinated by cultural dif- ferences as well as what has come to be seen as his eight stages of social development which he regarded as psycho-social crises. He explains each of the stages as a challenge, which a person must successfully negotiate before moving on to the next stage. When the challenge isn’t met, the person will find issues related to it arising in subsequent stages until he or she finally masters what was missed earlier. These stages as they relate to childhood will be looked at further in the chapters focused on families and children.

Watch this video, in which Sue Bredekamp discusses how some children attend schools where the culture is different from their home culture. Was that true for you? What do you think of her comment about always needing to know more about culture?

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Check Your Understanding 1.4

Click here to check your understanding of the different ways to view family-centered approaches.

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SUMMARY The chapter started with a look at why this book is called the Child, Family, and Community and considered Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model as part of the reason: because children always come in a context. You can’t ever consider a child without thinking of the family in which that child is embedded, which is why family-centered approaches to early care and education programs are so important. The chapter also looked at the history of family-centered education, which included some of the challenges pro- grams face when creating partnerships with families. More ways to look at family-cen- tered approaches were also discussed and included family systems theory and the whole-child concept, which means that though you can tease out particular domains of growth and development, like physical or mental, everything is always intertwined. That led to a discussion of school readiness and Marlow’s hierarchy of needs. Though discussions of culture appeared regularly in each section labeled “lens,” the term culture didn’t get a subheading until the end of this chapter. That’s typical of the way culture exists—all the time, every day, but when you are embedded in it, you don’t recognize that it’s there. To end, the chapter introduced Erikson’s theory of psycho- social development which will use his stages as well as themes of culture though the next five chapters, when once again culture shows up in the chapter title.

WEBSITES Harlem Children’s Zone The Harlem Children’s Zone provides comprehensive support to children, from early childhood through college prep, by focusing on issues of education, family, and community and health.

Kids Count Data Center The Kids Count Data Center is a source for data on child and family well-being in the United States.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is often considered the nation’s leading voice for high-quality education for children from birth through age eight. They provide many resources for professionals about family-centered care and education.

FOR DISCUSSION 1. What do you think about working in a family-centered program? Do you have

any experience with that approach?

2. What do you see as the benefits and challenges of a family-centered approach?

3. Thinking about your own life using Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model, can you draw a picture of the various layers of context in which you grew up? Label each layer and provide three influences in each layer.

4. What are your memories of your early care and education? Consider that the term covers programs serving children and families from birth to third grade. To what extent was your family involved in your out-of-home care and education?

5. What is your understanding of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Do you know someone who you would consider has reached the highest levels?

QUIZ Click here to check your understanding of Chapter 1, “The Child in Context of Family and Community.”

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The Child in Context of Family and Community 21

Head Start Head Start is a national organization that supports the social and emotional development and school readiness of children from birth to age five. The agency is funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support low income families with education and social services.

The Harvard Family Research Project The Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) is a large, ongoing research program with the goal of evaluating strategies to promote the well being of children, youth, families and their communities. Click on the Family Involvement link for a large number of resources on this topic.

Parent Services Project The Parent Services Project (PSP) focuses on parent lead- ership training, staff capacity building, family literacy,

child development supports, community outreach, and organizing and access to service. This program trains early childhood professionals on how to partner with families in ways that develop and strengthen their leader- ship qualities and roles in educational programs for their children.

The Ecological Model of Human Development A National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) write-up explains how Urie Bronfenbrenner, one of the founders of Head Start, came up with his bioecological sys- tems theory, which helps teachers and others understand how to see children in context in order to better serve the child and family.

FURTHER READING Derman-Sparks, L., & Edwards, J. O. (2010). Anti-bias edu-

cation for young children and ourselves. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Espinosa, L. (2010). Getting it right for young children from diverse backgrounds: Applying research to improve practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Im, J., Parlakian, R., & Sanchez, S. (2007). Rocking and roll- ing: Supporting infants, toddlers, and their families: Understanding the influence of culture on caregiving practices…from the inside out. Young Children, 62(5), 65–66.

Tough, P. (2009). Whatever it takes: Geoffrey Canada’s quest to change Harlem and America. Boston, MA: Mariner Books.

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Learning Outcomes In this chapter you will learn to…

• Explain how attachment and trust are related. • Describe the development of attachment and trust. • Identify obstacles to attachment. • Recognize varying attachment patterns. • Explain the effects of child care on attachment.

Supporting Families Around Issues of Attachment and Trust

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Supporting Families Around Issues of Attachment and Trust 23

How ATTAcHmenT And TruST Are relATed This chapter focuses on supporting families of very young children during their first year of life. Children in this age group are at the beginning of their socialization. What do attachment and trust have to do with socialization? The answer to that question is everything. Attachment is important to relationships and social develop- ment. It also relates to trust. Further, it impacts cognitive development and even physical development. For example, babies who have a secure attachment tend to explore more. When they explore in a safe, rich, and developmentally appropriate environment they advance their physical skills while developing their intellectual ones.

Think of attachment as a lasting emotional relationship that begins to develop in infancy and serves to tie the infant to one or more people in his or her life. It is a two-way process—adults (first, usually parents or other family members and sec- ond, infant caregivers) attach to infants, and infants attach to adults. This two-way process results in a significant relationship. Attachment is a lifelong process that starts in the first year of life and carries throughout the life span. The first early at- tachment sets the tone for a child’s development and defines some of the issues that he or she will carry into adulthood. This chapter focuses on attachment in in- fancy and the issues and implications for early care and education professionals, teachers, and other professionals working with families.

Everyone who is involved with children and their families—teachers, early educators, and professionals of all sorts—should be concerned about attach- ment. Long ago we learned about the terrible effects of orphanages that neglected to provide for attachment. It took a wise and innovative pediatrician in Hungary, Dr. Emmi Pikler, to come up with solutions for healthy development in group care. Her theories, research, and practical approaches toward creating attachment in out-of-home care were developed in the 1930s. Due to World War II and the Iron Curtain following the war, much of the Western world was denied this insight for the next several decades. Magda Gerber, an infant expert also from Hungary, arrived in the U.S. in 1956 during the Hungarian revolution. She introduced some new ideas about parenting and attachment starting in the 1970s. Both Gerber and Pikler are being studied today in the U.S. and to some extent around the world. The ideas, theories, and research of both innovators are now starting to be ap- plied to child care as well as orphanages (Gonzalez-Mena & Briley, 2011; Green- wald & Weaver, 2013).

Erik Erikson (1963) is the person better known for bringing attention to at- tachment long ago as the first stage of his psycho-social theory, in which he named the eight stages of man (1963). The first stage is Trust versus Mistrust. Erikson focused on mother-infant attachment, which he saw growing out of the babies’ physical and emotional needs being met satisfactorily in the first year. His theory corresponds with the basic three of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (see Chapter 1). Attachment is also important to see in the context of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory (1979), because it happens in the microsystems but is impacted by the other systems as well. One way to look at this chapter is that family in- volvement in programs for young children has plenty of research behind it show- ing what an influence attachment has on positive outcomes for children. “To give children a healthy start, early childhood educators should consider themselves working for the healthy development of two generations, children and their par- ents or caregivers” (Weissbourd, Weissbourd, & O’Carroll, 2010, p. 115).

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24 cHApTer 2

Anthropological research that looks cross-culturally (Rogoff, 2003) shows variations on the theme of mother-infant attachment depending on the cultural community. For ex- ample, in some cultures the ideal attachment of an infant is to the group and is not exclu- sive to the mother. Others who have studied attachment cross- culturally are Carol Brunson Day, Alison Wishard Guerra, and Sarah Garrity (Virmani & Mangione, 2013).

Although attachment is an emotional process that we as- sociate with “the heart,” other processes engaging the brain are also involved. Healthy at- tachment provides the foun-

dation for later intellectual development, according to research being done on the brain (Hammond, 2013). The positive nurturing experiences associated with at- tachment produce hormones called neurotransmitters that give the infant a sense of well-being. This sense of well-being reinforces certain pathways in the brain, which leads to mental growth. On the other hand, children who have attachment issues or, worse, no attachment figure(s) lack a sense of security and experience stress, which has a detrimental effect on the brain’s development. Bruce Perry (2002, 2006; Perry & Dobson, 2010) in his writings and lectures talks about the chemicals that wash over the brain when babies experience some of the results of lack of attachment, like abuse or neglect.

With school readiness receiving so much widespread attention in the early care and education field, some people think the main message from brain research is that academic teaching should start early. On the contrary, the real message is the important role that social-emotional development plays in intellectual develop- ment. In a journal published by the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society, Immordino-Yang and Damasio (2007) make an excellent case for emotional processes profoundly affecting learning, attention, and memory. Although they focus on neu- roscience and education, and not on infants, attachment is the foundation of the emotional processes they write about. They say that feelings provide an “emotional rudder” to guide judgment and action. That’s one of the reasons that this book focuses on social-emotional development throughout and starts right off with attachment as the basis for early social-emotional development. It’s important for early childhood educators and the families they work with to recognize the role that social-emotional development plays in the lives, education, and development of children.

A short article in Time brings this point home further (Park, 2007). In 2006 parents spent $200 million on Baby Einstein videos to help their babies get ahead intellectually. Yet in a study done at the University of Washington, researchers found that for every hour babies spent watching the videos, they understood an average of seven fewer words than the babies who had no exposure to the videos. The parents of the video-free babies apparently followed the advice of the American

The positive nurturing experiences associated with attachment produce neurotransmitters that give the infant a sense of well-being

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Supporting Families Around Issues of Attachment and Trust 25

Academy of Pediatrics, which recommends that parents keep babies under age two away from screens and just interact with them instead. Those interactions are likely to result in stronger, healthier attachment. Further, parents and caregivers should regard interaction as a two-way street. Their responsiveness to the baby is vital. It’s not just talking to the baby but, even more importantly, responding to what the baby initiates . For more information on the effects of screen time and young children, go to the website for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Here’s another example of how attachment and trust contribute to cognitive de- velopment in infants. As mentioned earlier, when children feel secure, they are freer to explore the environment around them. Watch a group of babies in a playroom. You’re bound to see some exploration as the ones who are mobile go looking to see what’s there. If these babies get too far from their infant care teacher or become star- tled, they head back to touch base, get a little hug, and gather up their courage to move out again. The greatest explorers are usually the ones who are se- curely attached. According to Ainsworth’s research (1977, 1978), secure attach- ment can be easily seen in the behavior of infants who are separated from their parents and then reunited with them. Attachment is a matter of trust, which is the subject of the next section.

THe developmenT oF ATTAcHmenT And TruST The basis of healthy care and education is social-emotional development and the basis of that is attachment, which comes from a synchronous relationship, which grows from a number of synchronous interactions. Here’s what a synchronous inter- action looks like, whether the adult in the scene is the baby’s parent, a center-based infant care teacher, or a family child care provider.

The adult is bent over a three-month-old baby who is lying on her back in a play area. The adult is expressionless. The baby rounds her mouth and lets out a breathy sound while reaching out her arms. The adult responds by widening her eyes, rounding her own mouth, and imitating the sound. She reaches for the baby’s hands and holds them in her own. The baby pulls her hands away, kicks her feet, and widens her own eyes in imitation of the adult. The adult smiles. The baby smiles back. The adult keeps smiling, makes clucking noises, and claps her hands. The baby turns away. “Oh, that was too much for you,” responds the adult, quieting her activity. The baby looks back. The adult smiles. The baby smiles, then arches and reaches. “You want up?” the adult asks, reaching out her arms to the child.

These two are “in sync” with each other. The adult is sensitive to the baby’s signals and reads the turning away as a need to tune out, not a personal rejection of her. The baby knows how to “light up” the adult’s face. The adult knows how to “turn on” the baby. The two are good together. If they are not already attached, they are becoming attached.

Check Your Understanding 2.1

Click here to check your understanding of how attachment and trust are related.

Infants who are left screaming for long periods, gripped in the agony of hunger pangs, come to see the world as an unfriendly place

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26 cHApTer 2

Babies become attached when people in their lives are sensitive and responsive. That means that they pay attention to the baby’s signals and read them accurately, responding readily and appropriately. Adults practice being responsive when they play with babies, as in this scene. They also meet needs by reading babies’ cues and responding in a timely fashion with feeding, for example. Both play and meeting needs contribute to the development of attachment.

Imagine yourself a very young baby, lying asleep in a crib. You open your eyes— suddenly you’re wide awake. You see nothing except a blur of light—there are no objects, no movement within your visual range. You feel a very uncomfortable sensation in your midsection. You squirm around. Changing position doesn’t help. Suddenly you feel desperate. The sensation in your midsection takes over your whole body. You squeeze your eyes shut tight and open your mouth wide. Into your ears comes a piercing sound. You don’t know that it’s your own cry. You only know that something is terribly wrong, and your whole being reacts to it. Your heart pounds, your face burns, and you scream in agony, then gasp for breath, only to start screaming again once you get your lungs full. You’re like this for what seems an eternity but is actually less than two minutes. You feel something touch you. You open your eyes and find something very distinctive and vaguely famil- iar in front of the blur of light that was all that was there before. The something moves in a way that makes you feel comfortable. As you pause for breath, you hear another sound—not the high, agonized one of before, but a soft, soothing one. You feel a blanket of pleasure surround you, providing immeasurable relief, and, true to your most cherished hope, you find yourself lifted in the air out of the loneliness—the isolation—and snuggled into a pair of warm arms. You’re basking in the glow of the feelings of this, when—wonder of wonders—something familiar touches your cheek. You jerk toward the something, manage to get your mouth around it, and begin sucking. A warm, sweet sensation floods your mouth and you’re in heaven.

Imagine now a different scene where the hungry baby wakes up and doesn’t have to signal her needs because the adult is right there with her and feeding occurs immediately, before the baby even cries.

These two scenes illustrate how, as mentioned earlier, needs, attachment, and trust all come in a bundle in the beginning of life. The scenes are slightly different. In the first one, the infant wakes up alone and must let the adult know about the need for food and comfort. In the second scene, the infant wakes up in physical contact with the adult, who anticipates the needs before crying occurs.

You may prefer one scene over the other—you may actually feel critical of one of the scenes. However, both of these patterns of relating to the needs of the very young infant lead to a healthy attachment, one that serves both the individual and the culture. It’s important to remember that attachment patterns are related to parental values and goals (Chang, 1993; Gonzalez-Mena, 1997, 2004, 2008; Virmani & Mangione, 2013). Parents rear their children to fit the world as they perceive it. Attachment is vital. It is a means of ensuring survival of the child and also of the species (Bowlby, 2000). It creates the caring (the feeling) that motivates the action of giving care. It ensures that nurturing and protection will be provided to the relatively helpless infant. But beyond physical survival, the first attachments provide the basis for all future relationships.

If the infant finds that when needs arise they are met with reasonable prompt- ness, as in the two prior scenes, he or she comes to see the world as a welcom- ing place. A sense of trust grows from fulfillment and satisfaction in the first year

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Supporting Families Around Issues of Attachment and Trust 27

of life. Infants who are left scream- ing for long periods, gripped in the agony of hunger pangs, come to see the world as an unfriendly place. They find that they can’t trust anyone to take care of them. If they give signals and no one responds, they see them- selves as powerless and the world as cold and hostile. When these children grow out of infancy, they continue to view the world with distrust. Erikson (1963) wrote about this psycho- social dilemma a long time ago (see Figure 2.1).

Trust is a lifelong issue for all of us. However, children who develop a sense of distrust in infancy grapple with the issue more intensely than oth- ers. Some of these children are left with unresolved trust issues; others success- fully deal with the problem if the situation changes and those around them become more responsive and meet their needs more promptly. Children with unresolved trust issues often reach adulthood still seeking the early caregiver who left their needs unmet. Because it is never too late to resolve trust issues, some adults seem continu- ally to choose to connect to people who treat them much as their early caregiver(s) did. They put themselves back into their infant situation, to perhaps give themselves another chance to relive the situation and manage a different outcome. The human being is very resilient! Continually seeking their early caregiver later in life may not be necessary for those children who find a warm, nurturing person to whom to attach in their early care and education program. According to Perry, a firm, healthy attach- ment is one way to get children through hard times in their lives with less damage to their brain development and therefore to their social-emotional and cognitive devel- opment (2006).

Attachment is a powerful process—and it seems that even a little goes a long way. Look at studies of survivor types—children who manage to cope and live a productive life in spite of factors in their early years that work against that. The one thing that all these survivor children have in common is a person they could

Ca rla M

es ta s/ Pe ar so n Ed

uc at io n, In


These two are “in sync” with each other

Child’s Stage Approximate Age Task



The preschool years

School age

0 – 1

1 – 3

3 – 6

6 – 10

Basic trust








Basic mistrust

Shame and doubt



Figure 2.1 erikson’s psycho-social stages of development Source: Based on Erikson (1963)

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28 cHApTer 2

attach to sometime in their first year—even though it might not have been an ideal attachment or a long-lasting one. Emmy Werner, a developmental psychologist, did classic research on resiliency over the past 40 years. Her findings show that attachment in the early years with a caregiver who had predominantly positive interactions with the child acts as a protective factor (Werner, 1984, 1995, 2000; Werner & Smith, 1992). These findings are impor- tant for early care and education practitioners to know about because they focus on the protective factors that can make a difference in children’s lives. In fact, you could be the person who makes the difference in a child’s life.

The Strengthening Families Through Early Care and Education research project has identified exemplary family-support programs that show that staff in child care centers and other early education programs can make a difference. Using a “pro- tective factors” framework, the project documents how exemplary programs reduce abuse and neglect. The idea is that programs can intentionally strengthen families while serving their children. One of the protective factors occurs when staff works to build trusting relationships with parents and offers support to them when they are go- ing through difficult periods. That kind of relationship, which can be a type of attach- ment, is different from what staff provides to children. The website for the Center for the Study of Social Policy has more information on the protective factors framework.

How Secondary Attachments Occur There are many different ways of getting attached to infants and older children, de- pending on the individual, the culture, and the situation. Attachment in families is a basic kind of attachment. It is important for those professionals working with chil- dren and families to support attachment of child to family and vice versa. When in- fants started coming into child care in large numbers, great concern for attachment arose. What happens to the attachment of babies who spend more of their waking hours outside the home with people other than their family? One of those concerned is J. R. Lally (1995, 2013). He has been advocating for a number of years for policies, such as small groups, primary caregivers, and continuity of care, to help infants and toddlers gain a sense of trust while not with their families. When those policies are in place and caregivers are well trained, the attachment to family remains strong and attachment to caregivers grows. Attachment doesn’t switch from family to caregiver, but rather the attachment to caregiver becomes a secondary kind of attachment (Lally, 1995, 2013). Lally and Peter Mangione’s Program for Infant-Toddler Caregivers (PITC) has been training infant-toddler program administrators and staff since 1990 about the importance of secondary attachments in out-of-home care. Further, the PITC training focuses on just how to create those attachments. The worries about at- tachment issues in babies when both parents work outside the home have lessened today as evidenced by the growing numbers of families successfully using infant- toddler care.

One of the pioneers in attachment in group care was Emmi Pikler, the Hungar- ian pediatrician mentioned earlier who did many years of attachment research on children zero to three years of age in what is now called The Pikler Institute, directed today by Pikler’s daughter, Anna Tardos. Anyone who works with infants and toddlers in groups and individually can learn much from Pikler’s research. One of Pikler’s find- ings was how important it is to train the staff very carefully in exactly how and to what extent to promote attachment. Pikler’s ideas about attachment are useful today

Watch this video to hear Dr. Bruce Perry and others talks about attachment, trauma, and resiliency. How does high quality caregiving impact brain development? /watch?v=RYj7YYHmbQs

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Supporting Families Around Issues of Attachment and Trust 29

to infant care teachers as well. She stressed in her training that this was a special kind of attachment—one that gave children enough security to develop well and function optimally, but was not so strong an attachment that moving into an adop- tive family—or back to their own—would devastate the children when the ties with the caregiver in the Institute were cut (David & Appell, 2001). The Pikler website has information about training that promotes respectful care of infants and toddlers. To- day in child care we look at secondary attachment to caregivers as similar to, but not exactly like, what Pikler advocated. However, the means to both are similar.

Attachment, according to Pikler, grew during the one-on-one times when the pri- mary caregiver was able to be intimate and uninterrupted with her primary children. Those times come about during the essential activities of daily living, such as feed- ing, diapering, dressing, bathing, and grooming.

Becoming attached to someone else’s baby is delicate business. Earlier I said that as a professional you may be the protective factor in a child’s life. You may be the one that makes a difference. That’s a heady thought and needs some serious consideration. Some people who go into social work or early care and education, teaching, or other related professions have a tendency to want to rescue children from their parents. This is a stage many pass through. It is important to recognize those tendencies in yourself and set them aside. If you look down on parents, you can’t support them, and it’s your job to be supportive. Watch out that you don’t find yourself in competition with the family for the child’s affection. Be professional at all times, but realize that professional in this profession means warm and caring. Be close and attentive, but also be aware of keeping an optimum distance in your attachment to a child. Optimal closeness should be the parents’ goal, not yours. The child’s attachment to the family is and should be a lot closer than your attachment to the child. The child’s past, present, and future are with the family, not with you. Your attachment is important, but it’s also temporary. If it is too strong, both you and the child will suffer when you separate, as you are bound to do eventually.

Attachment Behaviors Attachment can be observed in adults and babies alike. There are certain sets of behaviors that indicate attachment is forming or is already fully established. We’ll look first at parent behaviors and second at infant behaviors. Some parents show signs of attachment right away. They’re smitten with their babies. They feel close to their offspring. They find parenting pleasurable—even the hard and frustrating parts. One mother recalls how her whole life changed when her first baby was born. Sud- denly she became important to someone. Her baby depended on her. She had a new interest in world news because it seemed important to make the world a safe place for her baby to grow up in (Gonzalez-Mena, 1995). Not all parents go through such a transformative process, but some do.

Some cultural rituals are related to attachment. Giving a name to the baby and calling him or her by that name are ways of acknowledging the child as an individual. Buying possessions for the new baby is also a way of recognizing individuality and personhood. These are so expected that they don’t seem to relate to attachment, but when they don’t occur, it can be a sign that something is wrong with the attachment. Be careful, though, about judging across cultures. Attachment behaviors may look quite different.

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