It seems like life is busier than ever, and we are all feeling it. We are dodging traffic, fielding texts and phone calls, trying to stay on top of hundreds of emails, and racking our brains each night about what to serve for dinner. As a parent or caregiver, you are not only dealing with this maze yourself, but you are also trying to navigate your family through it. One way this hits us is when we realize how much we say, “I’m sorry, I just don’t have time for that.” But have we stopped to think about how getting caught in this maze may be holding back our families and children?
There is an overwhelming amount of research that shows that engaging our children with the community helps to facilitate their development. Former National Education Associate (NEA) President Dennis Van Roekel stated, “Parents, families, educators and communities – there’s no better partnership to assure that all students pre-k- to high school – have the support and resources the need to succeed in school and in life.” When parents, families, educators and the community are involved in a child’s development, we see higher academic performance and more strength in their social/emotional skills. This means students are staying in school longer and attending more frequently, leading to reduced dropout rates and more enthusiasm in pursuing their education. It also means that students are making safer, healthier choices for themselves, as they feel they are supported and are motivated in their lives.
At King’s Daughters, we recognize that building community around our students serves them in so many ways. While our children may be young, making sure they have every resource they need is critical because it sets the stage for success later on. We not only provide child care, but also developmentally appropriate and challenging practices to promote learning and growth. Every teacher creates a learning environment in their classroom – specific to their students – that encourages them to explore and work together in their learning. Each class creates their own community, but it is not contained to their classroom. To truly develop and facilitate community building, it takes stepping outside of the classroom and engaging in other activities.
Parent/family involvement is extremely important to us at KDCDC; not only because we care for their children, but because of the vital role families play in helping to build community in their child’s life. Just in the past few weeks, we have had parents/families take part in many different ways. We recently held our annual Harvest Celebration, and it was a huge success! We were so grateful to have several families come and help us pass out candy as our students participated in trick or treating around the center. We also host a monthly “Parent Cafe,” where parents/families are encouraged to join in on discussions about how to facilitate healthy growth and development at home. With the holidays coming up, we have even more opportunities for parents and families – we will be sharing more information on that shortly!
KDCDC also actively seeks involvement from our surrounding community. We open our doors to volunteer groups that come and generously give their time to help improve our center, many of whom interact with our students by reading to their classroom or participating in various activities. Most recently, volunteers with the Nashville Symphony brought music to our center and even had our students interact with and play the instruments they brought with them. It was really an incredible sight! These kinds of activities are essential because they provide an opportunity for children to hear from and engage with members of the community that they wouldn’t have otherwise known, while also broadening their exposure to potential new interests. Our Lantern Walk is another example of how we are working to build community in the lives of our students. This event brought together our families and members of the Madison community, so we could all “Light the Way” for KDCDC children. It was described as being a magical evening of light, fun and fellowship, which is all we can ask for!
Life will continue being busy – we are all guilty of pushing things off until that free time we think we will someday have but which never comes. Keep that in mind as you see opportunities for you and your family to be involved in activities and events together and with the community. It provides precious memories and helps to lay the groundwork for positive growth and development in your child.
If you would like to learn more about how to be involved with KDCDC, feel free to contact us at (615) 865-5164 or email Callie at [email protected]