Families are the most important teachers for their babies and toddlers. The bond between a family and their child promotes resilience, specifically:
the ability to take initiative
DECI understands and supports parents as they journey together through a series of developmental phases that enable children to become certain of who they are. This journey can lead to a positive sense of self and school and life success.
DECI and best practice research support authentic partnerships between early childhood providers and families. Families, providers and sometimes professionals work as a team through DECA-I/T’s 5 Step system:
Step 1: Collecting Information In this step, careful consideration and time is spent getting to know children and their families. Parents may take time to do some simple observations of their child and share information with their child care provider focusing on individual strengths.
Step 2: Assessment The DECA-I/T assessment is used to gather further information on children so the adults in their lives can best understand how to support their social and emotional growth and development. It is a one page assessment that parents and a child’s child care provider fill out separately.
Step 3: Summarizing Results: The information collected in both Step One and Two are discussed and used to help the adults in the child’s life to understand their individual social and emotional strengths and any possible areas of growth needing support. It also helps the teacher or child care provider to make sure that they are really getting to know the parents perspective.
Step 4: Planning In the planning step, parents are partners in coming up with both 1) goals for their child and 2) strategies that make sense for their family and daily life. Planning is simple and usually includes brainstorming children’s strengths, areas for growth and possible strategies to help the child reach their goals. Goals might be set for both the child care and home setting and it is important that the parent/family be a part off all planning processes as they know their child the best.
Step 5: Evaluating Progress This last step supports parents and others to continue working together to best optimize quality of care- in other words- keep the process going. We want to continue gathering information from parents, keep doing quality assessments and continue to summarize and plan so that we can ensure that our practices are working on behalf of babies and toddlers.
These five steps comprise an integrated system that encourages reflective and relationship based early care and education practice, which will lead to better outcomes for infants and toddlers and their families.
By working together now we can make a difference in children’s lives that will last forever.