It takes a Village to Raise a Child

It takes a Village to Raise a Child

Often when parents start at an early childhood service for the first time with their child, they feel guilty. They feel guilty because they think they are having to choose work over caring for their child. But they need not worry, because as the old saying goes “It takes a village to raise a child”.

The notion "It takes a village to raise a child" has long been a testament to the interconnectedness of human societies and the collaborative effort required to nurture the next generation. Non-Western societies and native peoples truly embrace this notice and live in communities where many family and non-family members rear children. It seems to be only us Westerners that fragment ourselves from that to do everything ourselves.

Further, American psychologist Bronfenbrenner who developed a human ecology theory (ecological systems theory) in 1979, shows how individuals mature not in isolation but within the context of relationships, such as those involving families, friends, schools, and greater communities.

This idea that a child's growth and development are influenced not only by their immediate family but also by the wider community around them has profound implications for child-rearing practices and has found resonance in the field of early childhood services.

The notion that raising a child involves a collective effort acknowledges the diverse roles and responsibilities that various individuals and groups play in a child's upbringing. Extended family members, neighbours, friends, and community leaders all contribute to the child's education, values, and socialisation. This communal approach ensures that the child receives a holistic upbringing that draws on a wide range of experiences, perspectives, and skills.

Early childhood services are modern manifestations of this village-based philosophy. Early childhood services replicate the community of learning and social interaction that facilitate the child's cognitive, emotional, and social development.

One of the fundamental aspects of the village metaphor is the transmission of cultural knowledge and values from one generation to another. In traditional societies, this process occurs through storytelling, shared experiences, and mentorship. Early childhood services follow a similar approach by providing a structured setting where educators impart essential skills and knowledge to children. Through carefully designed curricula, children learn language, mathematics, science, and various other subjects. Moreover, educators often introduce cultural elements, instilling a sense of identity and belonging.

The village philosophy also emphasizes the importance of social interaction and relationship-building. In a close-knit community, children learn to navigate interpersonal dynamics, resolve conflicts, and develop empathy. Early childhood services recognise this need for socialisation and create opportunities for children to interact with their peers. Through group experiences, inquiry-based play, and collaborative projects, children learn important social skills that are crucial for their emotional well-being and future success.

Furthermore, the village approach acknowledges the value of role models and. In a community, children have access to a diverse range of individuals with various skills and expertise. Early childhood services often employ educators from different backgrounds who serve as positive role models for the children. These educators not only facilitate learning but also provide guidance and support, helping children build self-esteem and develop a growth mindset.

In conclusion, the adage "It takes a village to raise a child" encapsulates the understanding that a child's development benefits from the collective efforts of a community. This philosophy is mirrored in early childhood services, which aim to replicate the community of learning and social interaction that traditional villages provide. By fostering a supportive and diverse environment, early childhood services ensure that children receive not only age-appropriate education, but also the social skills, values, and relationships that are essential for their overall growth. Just as a village rallies around its young members, early childhood services create spaces where children can thrive, learn, and develop into well-rounded individuals.