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With a new co-author, this introductory book again explores the interconnectedness of children's "circles"—home, school, and community. The authors' unique vision of school improvement advocates teaching strategies and curricula that are not only developmentally and culturally appropriate, but which also enfold each child's family and community into his or her education as equal partners with the school, its teachers, and its administration. Extensive and current demographic information, along with numerous engaging real-life stories, support the authors' position regarding partnerships, by presenting a child's life as a rich panoply of experiences in which learning is constantly taking place, both within and outside of school. Thoroughly up-to-date coverage includes globalization issues, the explosion of media materials, new findings from brain research, and examination of the latest federal and state legislation, including No Child Left Behind. For teachers—especially at the elementary school grade levels, and for anyone who in any way educates and contributes to the educational experience and well-being of children.
Over 55 million children attend American public and private schools today. In addition, another 20 million preschoolers are growing rapidly in homes, care centers, and communities across our nation. Teachers, social services providers, and administrators, as well as family members, community members, and caregivers of all kinds, have a tremendous responsibility to ensure the most productive education possible for this huge section of the American public, which will be the mainstay of our society in the future. The responsibility is staggering, and, as many know, our success rate in meeting the responsibility is questioned by numerous critics.
Education reform and renewal has surfaced periodically for generations in America, and in recent decades it has been debated by political leaders. Renewal, repair, or reconsideration seems to be on everyone's mind. All candidates for major offices now have an education plan or outline, and while this highlights the urgency in education matters, it also contributes to a zigzag in frequent changes in state and national proposals.
In the 8 years since the first edition of this text, a number of events have unfolded, and all have implications for how we nurture, protect, and educate our children. The face of our world can never be the same again, and most people realize that the requirements for citizens in the 21st century are very different from those of a generation ago. Consider the following developments:
In addition to all the new and sobering challenges, old demands are still evident in our postindustrial society. Cultural and ethnic diversity is expanding rapidly in the United States, and efforts to address the needs of exceptional children grow each year. Many authorities see good strides in adjusting societal expectations for the greater diversity of America; others point out the need to do more.
All these concerns point to a need to develop education agendas aimed at blending interests, using cooperation to the fullest, and identifying all resources possible for addressing children's educational needs. And most authorities agree that major changes in the procedures and formats of many U.S. schools are needed as never before. For many, the greatest changes focus on drawing more partners into the management of children's formal education. A number of educational collaborations and partnership designs have spread across the United States, and they have served as effective bridges in many school districts. This text moves in a similar direction, and the authors support the designs that emphasize the benefits of collaboration among the many agencies and persons working with our children.
A basic tenet of Families, Schools, and Communities: Building Partnerships for Educating Children is that schools will always be a primary venue for educating the young child, and educators must be in the forefront of any endeavor to bring about change. However, the authors stress that to accomplish the tasks at hand, all school districts must develop vibrant partnerships—uniting parents and community members with teachers in educating tomorrow's citizens. Schools are where the action will bloom, but respectful collaboration is the key to success.
Significant steps for improving children's education through collaboration are already being made in schools and communities across the United States. A growing number of research studies, controlled assessments, and personal accounts support new partnership approaches. The authors salute all these efforts. We maintain that most schools do not need to reconceptualize curricula or most of their current teaching practices. The big job now is to study and adapt the amazing examples that already exist.
New and Expanded Topics. Building on the success of the second edition, we have rearranged some material and topics to give the ' text more coherence. and usefulness. Users of this text and objective reviewers of our second edition have pointed out areas for amplification. We have increased coverage of the following topics:
Diversity. We have inserted more information on special education, although we realize that the scope for this text serves only as a beginning step for this important area of educational experience. We have added more information on protection of children and included a new section on the grandparent curriculum. We have included more material on diversity in the racial and ethnic makeup of America and the exciting contributions that flow from our country's varied cultural makeup.
Updated References, Resources, and Figures. Because research studies and findings are frequently expanded or replicated, we have also updated a large number of references. We have updated the Resources section in each chapter to include new publications, other media, and websites that we believe will have staying power. New and updated figures and tables in each chapter synthesize information for the reader.
A New Author. Dr. Patricia A. Scully, joined the Barbour and Barbour team in revising the third edition. Dr. Scully, who currently directs the program for preservice early childhood teachers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), brings a new perspective to the text topics as well as 30 years experience working with early education programs.
We feel it vital for pre-service and in-service teachers as well as other social services providers to acknowledge the numerous influences on children's lives and how the structures of homes and communities affect children's learning in schools. The authors believe that by studying and analyzing this broader scope of curriculum, teachers in training and other young professionals will recognize the crucial educative forces of family, peer group, and community.
The vignettes about children's experiences in all the chapters, plus the model programs outlined in Chapter 12, serve to bring the text messages closer to reality.
We begin this text with an overview of the powerful influences surrounding all young children. Along with this, we identify the three primary social settings of home life, school life, and community life and discuss how these settings interplay to affect children's lives. Society does change, of course, and some forces influencing children have intensified in recent years. We categorize these influence patterns so that readers will gain a better perspective of what exists in the United States today.
Chapter 2 focuses on (a) how responsibilities for children's education emerged over time, (b) the range of philosophies and perspectives that have appeared in American education, and (c) how different ethnic groups in the United States have been affected educationally for more than three centuries. We look particularly at the uneven progress of collaborations associated with schoolwork.
Chapters 3 and 4 present information on U.S. family life, and the authors review various family patterns and clarify the different ways in which families function. The information there will help prospective teachers grasp the range of situations that professionals encounter as they work with children in a diverse society. Our hope is that readers will appreciate our urging of more collaborations in light of this diversity.
Chapter 5 is devoted to the expanding out-of-home care programs for the millions of preschool-aged children as well as young school-aged children. Far more mothers have joined the American workforce and must now find adequate care for their preschool-aged children and their in-school children who need care during after-school hours. We discuss the various child care arrangements and practices as well as the agency-directed preschool programs that a growing number of young children encounter.
Chapter 6 examines the responsibilities of parents and professionals in each of the three social settings. In this section we point out the various educational assignments and expectations that each setting places on the others.
Chapters 7, 8, and 9 deal with curriculum in the three social settings. Curriculum surrounds children, and though we do not always take notice of it, much of what children learn comes from the world outside the classroom. The reader must recognize that all citizens are educators and that when teachers acknowledge this, an even greater potential for learning exists.
Users will note that the authors have merged two chapters at the end of the text. Both dealt with examples and models of collaborative ventures, and we feel that combining them strengthens the organization of the book.
The last three chapters focus on the possibilities for collaboration among the three social settings. Chapter 10 highlights effective social settings and extends ideas about the ingredients for developing partnerships. In Chapter 11, we discuss traditional as well as new ways for teachers, parents, and others to work together. Chapter 12 examines the demanding and often difficult process of merging the efforts of people interested in collaboration. In this final chapter we present five successful models that demonstrate collaboration. The authors believe that these time-tested programs can provide a good template for agencies and communities seeking to marshall efforts to arrive at healthy partnerhsips.
Appendix I for the third edition is an extensive bibliography of children's books to help make the family, school, and community diversity presented in this text more pertinent and meaningful.
Appendix II presents the Code of Ethical Conduct that the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) promulgates. The authors consider this a foundation for the text thesis.
To assist instructors and students using this text, we have included several pedagogical aids.
Chapter Objectives, Implications, and Summaries. Concise statements of each chapter's main ideas serve as advance organizers for the content that follows. In addition, we have placed a brief section near the end of each chapter that urges the reader to reflect on and personalize the chapter information. This "Implications for Professionals" section is designed to increase understanding by relating text to self. A chapter summary reviews the highlights of the content in each chapter.
Vignettes. Depictions of real-life events that the authors have encountered clarify many concepts throughout the text chapters. The children in the vignettes represent a wide range of ethnic and socioeconomic families, and they live in a variety of geographic areas. These personal stories are all from the authors' experiences (except° the names used) and give a human connection to the chapter information and purpose.
Suggested Activities and Questions. Each chapter ends with questions and activities that give instructors another means to m1ake the text applicable to their course outlines and to students' lives. For students, the activities will help apply concepts presented and will stimulate reflection and discussion on the reading as well as their own experiences. In addition, an instructor's manual extends the activities and questions for processing the chapter information and concepts.
Resources. No text can give comprehensive coverage to the diverse topics included here, for community workers or teacher candidates. All instructors will supplement this content with their specialized knowledge, particular readings, and projects. The authors present a framework that points to ways that material can be organized and processed. To underscore this point, we give a number of resources in each chapter.
In addition to citing extensive references within the text and featuring tables and figures that encapsulate text content, we list particular titles at the end of each chapter to allow for a more thorough examination of text content. We also have extended the third edition chapters with other resources: (a) up-to-date films and videos to provide another medium for the chapter concepts, (b) lists of key organizations and agencies that relate to the profession, and (c) several Web sites that will give current status reports for our chapter features.
Bibliography of Children's Literature. The selections in the children's book section (Appendix I) depict valuable examples of children in different family arrangements learning in a variety of settings. This updated bibliography provides instructors as well as in-service teachers and other professionals with curriculum material to illuminate the chapter content. It will be particularly valuable for Chapters 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Glossary. Because the text draws from sociology, psychology, human development, and anthropology as well as from pedagogy and curriculum content, we include a glossary to help readers with specialized terms.