Questions Concerning Continuity Between Child Care and Home (page 2)
How much should the early care and education program reflect the methods, approaches, and values of the parents? If special needs are involved, should there be continuity between what goes on at home and what happens in the child care program? When what happens at home is different from what happens at the center, the two settings may provide a balance. For example, if the family loves taking care of a child who can do very little for herself, the program can provide more opportunities for the child to try out self-help skills. In such a situation, teaching the self-help skills has to be done skillfully and sensitively if the child is to feel safe and secure away from those who constantly do everything for her.
What about value differences? It is important to consider the following two additional questions as well:
- Is continuity between home and program always valuable?
- Is the ideal to aim for racial and cultural similarities between caregivers and children or to aim for diversity?
When consistency exists between family and program, cultural competence is more likely. All children, no matter what race, culture, or ethnicity, should be in settings that increase their cultural competence. An example of when continuity and consistency is important is when a child is in danger of losing home language and culture. For some children, being in a program where their language is spoken and where they can continue to relate daily on a close basis with people of their culture can make a big difference in helping them to keep their identity intact and to continue to develop in their own language. In infancy such continuity can be especially important because infants aren’t born members of their culture but must learn to be culturally competent. If they don’t get enough waking hours of exposure to their own people and language, the consequences can be negative.
That’s not to say that cultural continuity is vital in every situation. For some children there are advantages of experiencing interracial, multicultural staff and children in their child care settings. They can learn early to respond in positive ways to diversity. Children in America today need to learn to adapt to people who are different from themselves.
© ______ 2009, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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