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Strategies for parents to reinforce social and living skills

What strategies can you provide for parents to reinforce the social and living skills that students are learning at school?

I was a teaching assistant at Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center. The VHECEC school's holistic system provided strategies for parents to reinforce the social and living skills that students were learning at the school.

The VHECEC focused on the idea of community. There was a parent liason, and a parent resource classroom. Parent participation was required even though this was a school in the public school system. Many different types of visitors came to see our center, and many spent time with the children. The center was based on the idea that it takes a village to raise a child.

It was a wonderful center that stressed community. The school was one big community, and then there were four villages within that community. They were named by the three primary colors and green. So we had the red, blue, yellow, and green village.

Each was a community within a community. There were four to five classrooms in each village. There was also a village office for each. Each village wrote thier history and kept it in the posting place for the population of that village. Each classroom had its own restrooms for the students, with small toilets and the appropriate sized sinks. Each village had red, green, yellow, or blue tiles leading to it so the children of that community could find their way to their village. The cafeteria made breakfast, lunch, and snack daily. They delivered the food to the classrooms at the correct time each day, and students ate at tables family style, thus continuing to build that sense of community. There was a large gathering place in the center of the building. Near the center of the building, there was also an indoor play area, the office, A PARENT ROOM, and a meeting/training room. We also had an outdoor play area, with concrete sidewalks weaving all around for bikes, and trikes, and scooter, and wagons, which the school provided. We also had large grassy areas for rolling and running and playing. At this age, there is also the physical development and dexterity to improve. Much of this is done during play. The school was designed and built to be functional in every way, and was designed for the FAMILY and not just the student. This facility was designed to reinforce the social and living skills that students were learning at school
with the family.

Parent involvement and parent training and parent education was a huge factor in the plan.
Parents had to sign a contract if they wanted their child to attend VHCC. If they didn't sign or if they broke the agreement, their child could be refused, and the possibility existed that they would no longer allowed to attend the facility. Parents had to agree to provide service to the school, and to be a part of their child's education by participating in meetings and events and parent training. This was all done to align and to reinforce the social and living skills that students are learning at school with the parents.

There was a parent liason whose only job was to work with the parents and to help SUPPORT them. If parents needed education they could get help through the parent liason and find resources in the parent room. There were also meetings to improve parent skills and to help parents find needed resources. Parents were expected to be respectful, responsible, and motivated toward improving their lives and therefore the lives of their children. Parents and children were held to a high standard. This parent component of the program was essential to its success and reinforced a high expectation for social and living skills with the entire family.

EMPOWERMENT
Teachers and Assistant were held to a high standard as well. There were meetings and trainings all of the time. We were taught to use portfolios. Students chose the work they wanted to go into their portfolio. We were constantly being trained on how to use centers and activities to teach, and then how to use the student's work to assess the mastering of what the activities and centers were supposed to teach. Choice was a huge factor in our program, for parents and students. Allowing students to choose activities, learning centers, and the work they entered into their portfolios was a huge method of teaching them self-assessment or making good choices for themselves. It was very difficult to allow this choice at first. Teachers are usually trained to be in control. After we starting seeing the progress students were making with the choice methods, we were much more able to let go of that control and allow the students to help us by showing what they were capable of doing. Students soon learned to identify the goals of lessons, activities, and centers simply by virtually assessing their own work before we did. This was also an essential part of our program. This was true for parents as well. We had to make participation mandatory at first, but the choices offered to them once they came to us empowered them to want to learn the social skills and living skills that would benefit their entire family.

MODELING
There were many issues the first year of the program. We had students from all over our school district, so bussing wasn't an easy piece to fit. Eventually though, through a reflective model of problem solving, we all worked together and got all of the bugs out. Parents learned that reflective process from just being a part of it all. Whatever the problem was, we would examine it, find the parts that weren't working, and move forward with a new plan addressing that issue. After time, we got a lot of problems worked out and we all benefitted from learning that the process worked.

Solution Preview

I was a teaching assistant at Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center. The VHECEC school's holistic system provided strategies for parents to reinforce the social and living skills that students were learning at the school.

The VHECEC focused on the idea of community. There was a parent liason, and a parent resource classroom. Parent participation was required even though this was a school in the public school system. Many different types of visitors came to see our center, and many spent time with the children. The center was based on the idea that it takes a village to raise a child.

It was a wonderful center that stressed community. The school was one big community, and then there were four villages within that community. They were named by the three primary colors and green. So we had the red, blue, yellow, and green village.

Each was a community within a community. There were four to five classrooms in each village. There was also a village office for each. Each village wrote thier history and kept it in the posting place for the population of that village. Each classroom had its own restrooms for the students, with small toilets and the appropriate sized sinks. Each village had red, green, yellow, or blue tiles leading to it so the children of that community could find their way to their village. The cafeteria made breakfast, lunch, and snack daily. They delivered the food to the classrooms at the correct time each day, and students ate at tables family style, thus continuing to build that sense of community. There was a large gathering place in the center of the building. Near the center of the building, there was also an indoor play area, the office, A PARENT ROOM, and a meeting/training room. We also had an outdoor play area, with concrete sidewalks weaving all around for bikes, and trikes, and scooter, and wagons, which the school provided. We also had large grassy areas for rolling and running and playing. At this age, there is also the physical development and dexterity to improve. Much of this is done during play. The school was designed and built to be functional in every way, and was designed for the FAMILY and not just the student. This facility was designed to reinforce the social and living skills that students were learning at school
with the family.

Parent involvement and parent training and parent education was a huge factor in the plan.
Parents had to sign a contract if they wanted their child to attend VHCC. If they didn't sign or if they broke the agreement, their child could be refused, and the possibility existed that they would no longer allowed to attend the facility. Parents had to agree to provide service to the school, and to be a part of their child's education by participating in meetings and events and parent training. This was all done to align and to reinforce the social and living skills that students are learning at school with the parents.

There was a parent liason whose only job was to work with the parents and to help SUPPORT them. If parents needed education they could get help through the parent liason and find resources in the parent room. There were also meetings to improve parent skills and to help parents find needed resources. Parents were expected to be respectful, responsible, and motivated toward improving their lives and therefore the lives of their children. Parents and children were held to a high standard. This parent component of the program was essential to its success and reinforced a high expectation for social and living skills with the entire family.

EMPOWERMENT
Teachers and Assistant were held to a high standard as well. There were meetings and trainings all of the time. We were taught to use portfolios. Students chose the work they wanted to go into their portfolio. We were constantly being trained on how to use centers and activities to teach, and then how to use the student's work to assess the mastering of what the activities and centers were supposed to teach. Choice was a huge factor in our program, for parents and students. Allowing students to choose activities, learning centers, and the work they entered into their portfolios was a huge method of teaching them self-assessment or making good choices for themselves. It was very difficult to allow this choice at first. Teachers are usually trained to be in control. After we starting seeing the progress students were making with the choice methods, we were much more able to let go of that control and allow the students to help us by showing what they were capable of doing. Students soon learned to identify the goals of lessons, activities, and centers simply by virtually assessing their own work before we did. This was also an essential part of our program. This was true for parents as well. We had to make participation mandatory at first, but the choices offered to them once they came to us empowered them to want to learn the social skills and living skills that would benefit their entire family.

MODELING
There were many issues the first year of the program. We had students from all over our school district, so bussing wasn't an easy piece to fit. Eventually though, through a reflective model of problem solving, we all worked together and got all of the bugs out. Parents learned that reflective process from just being a part of it all. Whatever the problem was, we would examine it, find the parts that weren't working, and move forward with a new plan addressing that issue. After time, we got a lot of problems worked out and we all benefitted from learning that the process worked.
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Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center, Peoria, Illinois ...

Solution Summary

I was a teaching assistant at Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center. The VHECEC school's holistic system provided strategies for parents to reinforce the social and living skills that students were learning at the school.

The VHECEC focused on the idea of community. There was a parent liason, and a parent resource classroom. Parent participation was required even though this was a school in the public school system. Many different types of visitors came to see our center, and many spent time with the children. The center was based on the idea that it takes a village to raise a child.

It was a wonderful center that stressed community. The school was one big community, and then there were four villages within that community. They were named by the three primary colors and green. So we had the red, blue, yellow, and green village.

Each was a community within a community. There were four to five classrooms in each village. There was also a village office for each. Each village wrote thier history and kept it in the posting place for the population of that village. Each classroom had its own restrooms for the students, with small toilets and the appropriate sized sinks. Each village had red, green, yellow, or blue tiles leading to it so the children of that community could find their way to their village. The cafeteria made breakfast, lunch, and snack daily. They delivered the food to the classrooms at the correct time each day, and students ate at tables family style, thus continuing to build that sense of community. There was a large gathering place in the center of the building. Near the center of the building, there was also an indoor play area, the office, A PARENT ROOM, and a meeting/training room. We also had an outdoor play area, with concrete sidewalks weaving all around for bikes, and trikes, and scooter, and wagons, which the school provided. We also had large grassy areas for rolling and running and playing. At this age, there is also the physical development and dexterity to improve. Much of this is done during play. The school was designed and built to be functional in every way, and was designed for the FAMILY and not just the student. This facility was designed to reinforce the social and living skills that students were learning at school
with the family.

Parent involvement and parent training and parent education was a huge factor in the plan.
Parents had to sign a contract if they wanted their child to attend VHCC. If they didn't sign or if they broke the agreement, their child could be refused, and the possibility existed that they would no longer allowed to attend the facility. Parents had to agree to provide service to the school, and to be a part of their child's education by participating in meetings and events and parent training. This was all done to align and to reinforce the social and living skills that students are learning at school with the parents.

There was a parent liason whose only job was to work with the parents and to help SUPPORT them. If parents needed education they could get help through the parent liason and find resources in the parent room. There were also meetings to improve parent skills and to help parents find needed resources. Parents were expected to be respectful, responsible, and motivated toward improving their lives and therefore the lives of their children. Parents and children were held to a high standard. This parent component of the program was essential to its success and reinforced a high expectation for social and living skills with the entire family.

EMPOWERMENT
Teachers and Assistant were held to a high standard as well. There were meetings and trainings all of the time. We were taught to use portfolios. Students chose the work they wanted to go into their portfolio. We were constantly being trained on how to use centers and activities to teach, and then how to use the student's work to assess the mastering of what the activities and centers were supposed to teach. Choice was a huge factor in our program, for parents and students. Allowing students to choose activities, learning centers, and the work they entered into their portfolios was a huge method of teaching them self-assessment or making good choices for themselves. It was very difficult to allow this choice at first. Teachers are usually trained to be in control. After we starting seeing the progress students were making with the choice methods, we were much more able to let go of that control and allow the students to help us by showing what they were capable of doing. Students soon learned to identify the goals of lessons, activities, and centers simply by virtually assessing their own work before we did. This was also an essential part of our program. This was true for parents as well. We had to make participation mandatory at first, but the choices offered to them once they came to us empowered them to want to learn the social skills and living skills that would benefit their entire family.

MODELING
There were many issues the first year of the program. We had students from all over our school district, so bussing wasn't an easy piece to fit. Eventually though, through a reflective model of problem solving, we all worked together and got all of the bugs out. Parents learned that reflective process from just being a part of it all. Whatever the problem was, we would examine it, find the parts that weren't working, and move forward with a new plan addressing that issue. After time, we got a lot of problems worked out and we all benefitted from learning that the process worked.

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