Loris Malaguzzi, Reggio Emilia, January 1993 (Adapted by Jessica Eppley-Henning in accordance with Growing Seeds philosophy)
It is the right of the parents to participate actively, and with voluntary adherence to the basic principles, in the growth, care, Rotating8and development of their children who are entrusted to the Growing Seeds community. This means no delegating and no alienation. Instead, it confirms the importance of the presence and the role of parents, who have always been highly valued in our classrooms and school as a whole.
• First we have the school, which makes strong and concerted efforts to involve parents, in the awareness of how much can be gained from close collaboration with the families for the greater security and well-being of the children.
• Parent participation enables a communication network that leads to fuller and more reciprocal knowledge, as well as to a more effective shared search for the best educational methods, content, and values.
• Then we have parents who are of different trades, and professions, different backgrounds, and experiences. But all of these parents have to struggle against the lack of available time, the cost of living, the difficulty of their responsibilities as parents, and the desire to identify, discuss and reflect on their problems, especially those concerning the growth and education of their children. When school and parents are able to converge toward a cooperative experience, and interactive experience that is the rational and advantageous choice of everyone concerned (we are all pursuing more meaningful experiences), how friendly and fertile is the strategy of participation and shared research, shared mutual understandings of each child, and each family.
• Participation and research are, in fact, two terms that summarize much of the overall conception of our educational theory. These two terms might also be seen as the best prerequisites for initiating and maintaining a cooperative understanding between parents and teachers, and all the value added to the educational prospects of the children.
• In order to support and promote optimal learning and development, we recognize the primacy of children's families, and seek to create mutually respectful and trusting relationships, and encourage the participation of families. We welcome parents into the school whenever possible, therefore we have created many opportunities to build a collaborative relationships to the benefit of the child, family and school.
Open lines of communication are essential to developing the strong, positive relationships upon which our school is built. Ideally parents and teachers are able to connect for a few minutes in person each day at drop off or pick up time. Since this is not always possible we also have a number of systems to ensure on-going parent/teacher communication. In Infant/Toddler classrooms each child has a Daily Log which both parents and teachers are responsible for completing. Parents and teachers can also communicate via email to discuss any issues concerning their child or the classroom. We have two closure days for Parent/Teacher conferences, and parents and teachers are able to request a conference any time they perceive a need for one.
Please note that it is essential that teachers know about any important event that happened while the child was at home, this includes experiencing a loss of a family member or a pet, a pending move or separation, a car accident, or any change that could be potentially stressful.