The Power of Collaboration:
Families, Communities, & CC
If real learning is to take place, our classrooms must be dependent on the collaboration of its learners, not solely on the knowledge of its teachers. – Robert John Meehan
Part of education is learning. And what drives learning is curiosity and collaboration. – Sir Ken Robinson
Our task is to help children communicate with the world using all their potential strengths and languages and to overcome any obstacle presented by our culture – Loris Malaguzzi
Teaching children is a collective responsibility of parents, teachers, and the community. Starting with the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,”… we believe it takes a community to raise a school. CCPRE is an active part of the community of early childhood educators in New Mexico. One of our founders, Mike Ashcraft, is a long-term board member and trainer and former president of the New Mexico Association for the Education of Young Children. Or other founder, Chelsea Ashcraft has been teaching early childhood educators and preparing them to make a difference in our community as an instructor at Central New Mexico College. Part of the mission of CCPRE is to share our model freely with the larger early childhood community, so we invite educators and visitors to tour our facility, attend our professional development events, and utilize our practices in their own programs.
The larger community is also an important part of our school. We have formed a great many strong community and business partnerships to collaborate with us in our work, including the NM Children, Youth, and Families Department, the Community Schools Initiative, Albuquerque Public Schools, the Kiwanis Club, the NM Asian Family Center, Sandia National Labs, Blackout Theater, Duke City Dream Labs, Explora, the ABQ Biopark, the New Mexico Association for the Education of Young Children, and more. We have cultivated a large network of school principals, educators, children, families, and afterschool program providers. At CCPRE, we also take advantage of our community resources through a variety of experiential learning field trips out into the community, and through guest presentations and visits to our school.
Parents are essential and integral partners in the CCPRE experience. At CCPRE, we view parents as a vital component to the school. We honor parents as each child’s first teacher and involve them in every aspect of the curriculum. They are important collaborators in the learning process, and their voices are important to the dialog of the school. Their ideas are cherished and shared with the director and teachers. Parents have the right to visit the program at any time. Any custodial parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the program is permitted unlimited access to the program during operating hours for the purpose of contacting the child or evaluating the premises. At CCPRE, parents volunteer in the classrooms, and they are encouraged to incorporate the principles and activities within their parenting strategies and home life.
At CCPRE, we host a variety of events throughout each school year that are designed to build family relationships and to educate and solicit feedback from parents and the community. We have individualized parent conferences to discuss the child’s development, the parents’ goals, and the teacher’s observations.
We facilitate collaboration and cooperation among the students as well. At CCPRE, the environment and experiences are intentionally designed to be connected through relationships. We facilitate a “dialog rich” learning environment, and collaborative group project that encourage children to talk, critique, compare, negotiate, hypothesize and solve problems in groups. We encourage the consideration of many different approaches toward the same investigation or problem using a variety of tools and media for children to express themselves.
At Children’s Choice one of our slogans is, “It is ALL about the relationships.” This system of relationships permeates the school. Children, teachers, families, and community join together to have a voice, to have influence, and to continually improve the systems that supports our school community.