Consultations in Early Childhood Setting
Reasons for Selecting Early Childhood Program
The reason for choosing an early childhood program is because this is the basis of education for all individuals as it forms the foundation for a child’s learning as well as other developmental realms. Additionally, it is important to keep in check the running of the institutions to determine whether the intended goals for learning and interaction are met in the program. The process of consulting in early childhood program is geared to gather feedback on the application of child development theories for children aged between zero and eight years. Another reason for selecting this program is to practice my profession while seeking to comprehend more about the situation of learning in early childhood. The issues of parental involvement in the learning process and the effect of this interaction on the developmental impact of the children also pushed the need for this consultation.
The consultant preferred this program so as to understand the school’s problems, interact with the management, teachers, and the learners to see how well the challenges can be overcome. The consultant interviewed the head of the program (the management) and the six teachers that were directly involved with the children learning activities. The interviews were conducted independently through questionnaires and as a group of all the teachers and the management orally. The consultant was also actively involved in the daily activities of the program by attending a few class sessions. The consultant wanted to offer a good service by conclusively analyzing the situations and coming up with the solutions to solve the problems faced by the program. Additionally, the consultant wanted to suggest the most effective recommendations and draw up a plan to best implement them. The consultant would continue to provide assistance where necessary during the implementation plan and do an evaluation to determine the effectiveness of the process.
An Overview of the Early Childhood Program
The program chosen by the consultant constituted a small school in the countryside with three classes of sixty young learners. The management had one person who was the head of the early childhood, and the teachers of the young learners were a total of six teachers, two per class. The mission of this project was to interact with the program to understand issues that could be affecting them and come up with solutions to solve the problems. The teachers strive to nourish the minds the senses of the young learners by providing a healthy and beautiful learning environment and a series of programs that foster the optimal growth of the child (County et al., 2011). To strengthen the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual life of the child, the program involves the children in imaginative play, artistic activities, arts and crafts, poetry, songs, puppetry, and storytelling sessions. During the consultation, the consultee asserted that through their daily activities of engaging the children and exposing them to more learning, they believe that they form a strong foundation for the future of these children in terms of academic success.
During our discussion, the teacher cited that the aspect of parental participation in the learning of their children was not prioritized. This was a challenge that even led to the withdrawal of some children who had other issues such as communication challenges. In the discussion, the importance of parental involvement, learning through play and building brain power through encouraging memory and imagination power was outlined. From the challenges experienced, objectives and goals to overcome the challenges were documented, and the exact procedures to achieve them were stated. From this encounter, it was hoped that the child’s growth in all the developmental development aspects would be improved since the learners were already going well.
Consultation Experience of the Program
The experience is both enlightening and offers a platform for the consultants to practice their knowledge in the field. Interacting with young learners is fulfilling, and one gets first-hand information about their achievements and challenges. The children demonstrated a need for personalized attention which was a challenge because of the small number of the caregivers. However, the quality of the learning was to a good standard considering the environment and the availability of the resources presented to the children.
The process was a success as the teachers welcomed the consultants’ services and willingly agreed to participate. During the formulation of the goals to improve the outcomes of the program through the improvement of parental involvement, learning through play and building brain power, the teachers showed interest and were focused to see them implemented. The major goals such as parental involvement were broken down into smaller objectives such as how to discuss the move with the parents, introduction of the activity into the already existing school activities, and the actual implementation of the goal. The activity of formulating the goals was exciting, and the management looked forward to the outcomes of the implementation of the goals.
Consultee’s Reaction to the Consultation
The consiltee’s reaction to the consultation was positive as the teachers welcomed the idea of sharing the operations, achievements and the challenges of the program with the consultant. They embraced the consultation services and offered to participate in coming up with the best suggestions that they thought would work if incorporated into their operations. The reason there was less resistance was because the consultant described their role and the services they are qualified to offer so as to gain entry and build trust between the two parties. During the entry stage, the consultant was able to assess the consultee willingness to commit and participate. After the trust had been built between the two parties, it was easy to gather the necessary information about the program. The management embraced the recommendations of the consultant as they all came together to set specific goals and selecting strategies to achieve them.
The consultee was happy to get a deeper understanding the magnitude of the relationship between a child’s performance and a parent involvement in the school work. Parental involvement creates a smooth transition from home to the elementary school for the child, as well as a connection between these two settings which is important in boosting their confidence and interest for learning (Miedel & Reynolds, 2000). The consultee was actively involved in the process, and this led to an agreeable course action easy to implement due to lack of resistance.
Recommendations for Improving the Consultation Experience
- The consultant should master all they have learned in their profession to offer valuable services to the community
- Consultants that end up interacting with children should exercise patience and develop their communication skills to effectively engage younger children
- Consultants must understand that change of roles may occur during their service and that they should be open to criticism and embrace learning that comes with it
- Consultants should always be ready to offer assistance if needed in the implementation process to be successful in their service.
Personal Reflections on Completing the Project
My consultation process used a capacity building approach and cooperation that enhanced the relationship between us and the understanding of the proper implementation of strategies that would improve parental involvement in the learning of their children. My role was majorly administrative, which I felt was intimidating to the early childhood educators; therefore, I focused more on cooperation and joint development of goals to enhance our relationships and ease of communication. Together, devised goals and related solutions to the challenges that the educators were experiencing in their quest to improve the learning outcomes for all the children. We followed with a discussion on implementation strategies that were best suited for each of the goals. For instance, we settled the strategy of inviting parents to specific days we have games and lunch during midterms as a way of meeting the goal of increasing parental involvement with their children in the school.
I am proud that my consulting experience had an impact, given that the school administration that sub-contracted me to do the job have already emailed me about the improved trust and confidence between the educators and the administration. The administration has seen the increased enthusiasm in the educators whose vision is clear and have demonstrated the capacity to be leaders in their own right. The time I spent as a consultant was very rewarding because I felt I was in the right place doing what I loved. The only challenge I faced was at the beginning of my exercise, as some educators were reluctant to commit to participation. However, by modifying my communication style and approach, I was able to get everyone on board.
Response to questions
The facility has served mentally challenged learners in the past that had similar needs with some of those that the consultant was visiting. In the past, the program had utilized the services of a consultant and involved professionals such as therapists, trained teachers and applied specialized care to give the learners a quality service. However, parental participation has remained a challenge, making it a dire need to be addressed so that the children can feel comfortable in the institution and increase a connection of home and the facility. Therefore, the management, teachers, and the consultant envision implementing parental involvement at least by having the parents at school at least twice a month for various activities with the children for a start. Additionally, the consultant will be actively involved in the implementation process so that the appropriate support is provided when needed. The families of the children will be called for a meeting for a discussion about the intended implementation, and they will air their views and work together with the consultant in helping their children.
The consultant will integrate the implementations by involving all the stakeholders such as the learners, teachers, and the parents to help the pupils have quality schooling. The consultant envisions improving interpersonal communication by increasing the interaction between the teachers, learners, and the parents. The consultant will be paying the school a visit every Wednesday to evaluate the progress and provide advice where necessary. However, the management and the consultant agree that the visits should be confirmed in advance so that all upcoming projects are put into consideration. The program has a high reputation in the community as its mission to provide a natural and integrative learning environment is constantly felt like a reward to all learners who enroll in the facility. The staff is proud of their accomplishments such as successfully graduating learners over the last twelve years who have experienced an integrated learning environment for both normal and challenged children. The organizational needs are always being met, and the school is ready to partner more with the consultant to effectively meet the needs of the children. In a case of emergency intervention, the school has several contacts such as the police, ambulance, psychiatrists, therapists, consultants and the parents to help meet the needs of the children
County, B., Isner, T., Tout, K., Zaslow, M., Soli, M., Quinn, K., … & Burkhauser, M. (2011). Coaching in Early Care and Education Programs and Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS): Identifying Promising Features.
Miedel, W. T., & Reynolds, A. J. (2000). Parent involvement in early intervention for disadvantaged children: Does it matter?. Journal of School Psychology, 37(4), 379-402.