|Citation:||Power, B., & Perry, C. M. (2000). SomeoneÕs most precious darling: Building the home-school connection in preservice teacher education programs. The School Community Journal, 10(2), 9-19.|
This paper describes the implementation of a school-family component as part of the Elementary Master of Arts in Teaching program at the University of Maine. The authors report several findings from the experience: that family played a crucial role in facilitating student learning, that building even small connections to their students' homes affected academic programs in unexpected ways over an extended period of time, and that the experience helped the teacher educators reaffirm their understanding that what they do in their coursework with students has far more impact than what they say. Teacher educators at the university were interested in exploring three ideas: (1) that engaging families and friends of students in the MastersÕ program would lead to greater learning, (2) that interactions with families and friends of students would cause changes in their own thinking about the teacher preparation program, and (3) that student experiences with in-service teachers building school-family connections would change the studentsÕ perceptions of their own work with families in the future. The program had four components: solicited letters from family and friends, home visits, an open house, and roundtable discussions with parents of children at a professional development school site associated with the MastersÕ program. This essay describes a unique model for pre-service teacher preparation.
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