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Bridging Divides and Making Visible the Invisible: Connecting Parents and Teachers through Cultural Inclusion


Christine McWayne

Implicit within mainstream notions of family-school partnership is the assumption that school-based engagement is needed for parents to provide effective support for their children's learning and development. However, for many low-income, ethnic minoritized and immigrant families, sociocultural and language differences between families and educators create significant chasms in understanding between home and school settings. Often, educators do not have access to the potentially powerful information about home-based practices and routines, families' experiential knowledge, and other aspects of children's out-of-school lives that could form the basis of engaging and meaningful early childhood programming. By framing family-school connections as emphasizing information flowing from the home to the school, we can make shifts in our assumptions about and expectations of families, while building a culturally inclusive and welcoming environment for all families in early childhood programs. In this presentation, Christine McWayne will discuss a home-to-school, strengths-based conceptualization of family engagement that challenges deficit-based and school-centric orientations toward families. McWayne is a professor and director of Early Childhood Education at Tufts University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.


Alumni/Reunion, Lecture/Talk, Research, Social Sciences, Teaching & Classroom Learning, United States Focus