Family, School, and Community

Discontinuity between the family, school, and community spheres of influence can easily create confusion and stress in young children. Ideally, a teacher is able to analyze family situations and identify internal and external environmental factors that may affect the learning outcomes. These spheres of influence can relate to family and cultural backgrounds, politics, economics, and social influences. Should these influences be found to be out of alignment or in disarray, the teacher can often be a conduit for sharing information and bridging the gaps between them.

After reading the “Case Study” about Joshua and Ben, identify resources such as community centers, local agencies, and national agencies that might help support the needs of these children and their families, as well as those that might help you, the teacher, learn more about the cultures of Ben and Joshua.

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Based on your research, create a 250-500 word informative handout for each student’s family that includes the following:

  • A brief analysis of the misalignment between family, school, and community spheres of influence and the negative effect this misalignment can have on the student’s learning outcomes. Support your analysis with at least two scholarly resources.
  • At least 3-5 resources that can assist you in learning more about the cultural backgrounds of Ben and Joshua’s families, and what you hope to learn from each of these resources.
  • At least 5-7 resources you believe could assist each family. (Some overlap between resources is expected.) Specify the family needs each resource will support, how the resources offer support or a solution for the student’s learning needs, and what outcomes you would like to see for Joshua and Ben if their families were to access these resources.

Case Study

Mrs. Larson is beginning her third year of teaching kindergarten. During her Meet the Teacher night, she asked each family to fill out a student information form answering several prompts about her incoming students. At the end of the night, Mrs. Larson sat down to review all the student information forms. Two students struck Mrs. Larson as students that will require additional support, both inside and outside the classroom.

Joshua’s family just moved to the states from the Middle East. His family has strict religious views and requests that Joshua not participate in any celebrations in the classroom. This includes school celebrations, birthdays, holidays, or classroom rewards. In addition, Joshua and his mom do not speak English. His dad does speak English, but travels for work during the school week. Mom is concerned she will not be able to help Joshua with his schoolwork or communicate with Mrs. Larson. Mrs. Larson is eager to identify resources that would support the families strict rules, support learning in the home, and help the new family adjust to the new community. Mrs. Larson is considering resources that support tutoring, religious beliefs, support groups within the community that would help the family feel welcome, and articles to support the need for rewards and celebrations in the classroom.

Ben is an only child and is currently homeless and living in a car with his parents. His dad has anger issues and mom is unable to work due to health concerns. Ben’s parents are concerned that his circumstances may prompt bullying in the classroom by questioning their living situation and this will have an effect on Ben’s emotional development. In addition, Ben’s mom has indicated that Ben is the victim of emotional abuse from his father. Again, Mrs. Larson is considering resources such as homeless shelters, medical support for families with no insurance, support groups for emotional abuse, and additional articles that would help with Ben’s understanding of bullying.

Mrs. Larson strives to establish high expectations for learning in her classroom. She wants all of her students to realize their potential and work hard to achieve it.

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