Key Terms: Benefits and Barriers to Family Partnerships

Microsystem
From Bronfenbrenner’s theory of human development, the network of immediate influences on an individual.  In terms of families and early childhood involvement, the microsystem includes early childhood setting and its professionals that provide the community support each family needs.
Ecology
The immediate surroundings or settings (physical, systemic, etc) that influence development. Families, schools, work settings, child care environments, the community, culture, laws–all of these are part of the ecology that impacts a child’s development.
Partiality
The bias parents have on behalf of their own child.
Gatekeeping
An attempt (often subtle and unintentional) by one adult to undermine the position of another adult inrelation to a child.  For example, a teacher might say, “Did your mother forget your extra clothes again today?” which implies that the mother is at fault for not sending in extra clothes.
Turf
Territory.  Teachers in early childhood settings sometimes resent parents disciplining a child (their own or another) in the classroom–the teacher believes that the classroom is his/her “turf” or territory.
Affect
Emotion; affective development refers to the development of emotions.  Intensity of affect refers to the strength or intensity of emotional responses.  Families tend to have higher intensity of affect regarding their own child than a teacher does about that same child.  For example, a teacher is upset when a child in his/her classroom gets  bit; a parent is UPSET over the same event!
Rationality
A reasonable, tempered, deliberate response.  Teachers are generally more rational in their responses to children in their classes than parents are to their own child.
Spontaneity
Responding without premeditation.  Parents often show spontaneity in their emotional responses about their children.  Teachers generally are more deliberate and objective.

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