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Family and Community Involvement

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Presentation on theme: "Family and Community Involvement"— Presentation transcript:

1 Family and Community Involvement
Meridian International Center PenMedia

2 Learning Objectives Parents and families are actively involved in preschool activities and child’s development Preschool establishes communication, coordination and participation with a variety of relevant community organizations Children are exposed to different community organizations and centers as part of learning about their community Preschool staff develop working relationships with a variety of social, cultural, recreational and support services to meet the needs of children in their class(es)

3 Why involve families Research indicates that children who attend preschool are more likely to succeed if their parents are involved in the child’s learning environment Children adapt, adjust, and cope better in preschool when their family are involved in attending meetings and sessions at the preschool Preschools and children are safer when families and communities are involved. Research has shown that when parents are involved in their child’s preschool education they can help the child to adjust to the preschool This provides the child with a sense of security, safety, and importance and this empowers the child to succeed within the preschool environment and later on in school. Research has also shown that this positive effect lasts well into the following years of the child’s life. With children showing positive development and achievement in their social and educational development Parents attending preschool send a message to the child that he/she is important and that their well being and education is valued by the parent. It all allows the parents to be in tune with the events that the child is dealing with on a daily basis and to track what is happening. This provides for dialogue with the teacher on any important issues that may arise and provide an opportunity for parents to assist in the child’s development and growth within the learning environment.

4 Social Networks There are a number of social networks that are important for enhancing children’s well being and development The family The health environment The preschool Recreational activities/centers Community based institutions The child does not live within a vacuum. He/she is surrounded by siblings, parents, extended family members, health clinics, parks, neighbors, and a host of other community centers. Understanding the environment in which the child lives is crucial because it allows teachers to have greater insight into the lives of the child and hence determine ways to improve the child’s chances for healthy and positive development. For instance, does the child come from an impoverished environment where the father and/or mother are unemployed? Do other children come from environments that are well off and where they have access to many services and centers? Understanding these situations can help the preschool to bring together families in support of one another and to use resources most effectively. Similarly, the preschool does not exist within a vacuum. Understanding what role the municipality or village council has will allow you to impact decisions on encouraging the building of safe roads around the school (putting in stop signs, crosswalks, child walking signs). It will also allow you to influence policy within the village council by encouraging building or outdoor play areas rather than just putting up more buildings. Getting involved in examining what community and family resources are available will enrich the preschool and child.

5 Interactions In order to support child well being and development, four parties need to interact on a regular and timely basis: The Child Parents – attitudes, skills, and practices The preschool – expectations, actions, and practices The community – health workers, municipality, police, parks/recreation centers, charitable organizations, etc. The child is the center of our concern. We are all interested in the holistic development of the child which relates to their physical and mental health, their social, cognitive, communication and moral development. This development is impacted by events and situations that surround the child within the home, preschool, and community. It is important to perceive the world from the child’s perspective. Does he/she see the world as friendly and open or is it a hostile and scary place to live in? Does the child have frequent or infrequent contact with the family, extended family, neighbors, and community? What would the child like to see change or what would he/she like to learn more about? The starting point is the child. Ask children to talk about their lives. Make a chart of where children go, who they see, and what they would like to see or learn more about? What things have children left out of their social map? It is important to give the child a voice and help them to find ways to be able to not only participate in family and community events and decisions, but to give voice to their views and perceptions, and even take part in decision making processes.

6 Understanding Parents
What are their attitudes on education and learning What are their values on child behavior, discipline, and education What are their expectations regarding the preschool What kinds of skills do they want their children to have What kinds of knowledge do they want their children to have What kinds of behavior do they practice at home with their child Every child is different. So are parents and families. As a preschool teacher you must always retain full confidentiality when dealing with parents. Information they provide should not be shared with others unless they have instructed you to do so. If you fail to keep information confidential, you can jeopardize your relations with the family and you will be perceived as unprofessional. However, if you are capable of working with families and parents in a confidential manner and helping them to deal with issues, providing support, giving guidance on where they can access more information or resources, then you enhance your image and professionalism. This is usually greatly appreciated and respected by families. There are a number of ways to get to know parents: Invite them for a teacher – parent conference. Here you can discuss your views on education, information on the child, and learn more about the parents child rearing strategies, expectations of what they would like their child to learn at the preschool, information on the families social networks and resources, and any challenges the family or parents are facing relevant to their child. Home visits – although these may be more time consuming and take more effort to organize, they provide tremendous insight into the physical and social environments of the child. Parents usually feel more comfortable speaking to others when they are on their own “territory.” They appreciate the effort of the teacher in coordinating these gatherings and the child establishes a closer bond with the teacher. Family circles – organizing meetings for a number of different families at the same time to discuss a particular issue. Here you could introduce topics like preschool routines, disciplining techniques, child rearing strategies, educating children in the home environment, or any other pertinent topic that you or the parents may deem appropriate. For children, you can introduce a number of different activities like having children draw their family, home, siblings, neighbors, and others. Especially regarding families, ask them to draw a picture of their mother and father. What can they tell you about their parents….mommy likes to wear her hair in a ponytail or daddy has big strong arms and likes to swing me around. You can ask children to write stories (they can dictate and you write) about things they like doing with their families or would like to do. You can keep these pictures and notes in the child’s file. When the parent visits you can share this with them and show how important parents are in the eyes of the child and how the child views his/her parents. Classroom activity: Have children draw pictures of their parents. Have a discussion with each child – do they eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together, what kinds of activities do they do together, what are things the child would like to do with their parents. Share this information with parents when they visit. Classroom activity: Have children draw their family tree. Drawing a family tree also is another way of learning more about the child, siblings, parents and extended family members. Ask children to draw pictures of their parents.

7 Shared Understanding between Parents and the Preschool
Are parents aware of the preschool principles? What are teachers’ expectations for the child and parents? What are the priority concerns of the preschool? What are preschool expectations regarding parent involvement? During interactions with parents, allow them to discuss their views regarding their child and the preschool. Be a good listener. You don’t always have to agree with them, but remember these are their perceptions and expectations. Listen to what they have to say. Then take the time to present information on the preschool, its principles, curriculum, teaching style, programs, and expectations that the preschool staff have regarding parental involvement. You should prepare: A one page summary of the preschool’s basic information. When the preschool was established, who runs the preschool, number, names and background information on teachers and other staff working in the preschool, number of children and age groups within the preschool. Vision and educational objectives of the preschool. Description of curriculum being used. Kinds of activities carried out in the preschool. Information on rules and regulations of the preschool….(pick up and drop off of children, items the children need to bring with them, school working hours, holidays, vacation times, means of caring for children, emergency contact numbers, routine parent teacher meetings, parent volunteers, etc.) A one page summary of what is expected of parents (sending light lunch, no money to be sent with child, helping child with home activities, participating in preschool activities and events, etc.) Prepare a one page questionnaire to have parents fill out about their child: Name, birthday, favorite games, stories, activities, allergies. A one page summary that describes how parents can be active participants within the preschool.

8 Protected and Stimulating Learning Environment
Parents Relationship with child Home – School Relationship Participation Community - Sharing learning responsibilities The child -Social Cognitive - Language Protected and Stimulating Learning Environment A protected environment is one in which the child’s physical and mental well being is of key concern and child’s needs are met. This requires an understanding of the child’s needs and being able to mobilize joint efforts between the home and parents and the community to share information and practices that benefit the child. This can be related to safety issues, supporting the child’s learning, making changes in community practices like road safety.

9 School, Parents and Community Involvement
Children provide: Common ground for all Motivation Ideas for cooperation Vision of the future Parents provide Nurturing Love Care Basic needs Learning opportunities Social interactions Encouragement School provides Safe environment Stimulating environment Social interactions Learning activities Developing new skills Providing new information Encouragement Community provides: Contacts with services Variety of services Protection Information Places to visit New people to learn about Contact with others Financial and economic support These are particular benefits that each of the different spheres can provide for children. By examining the benefits of the different arenas you can determine what efforts each party can take to stimulate and protect children’s well being. For instance, if you are interested in children learning to keep the environment clean. You can start with teaching them about picking up, sorting trash, placing things in the trash bin, planting flowers. It is worthwhile that parents are involved in this process so that children can also learn that they can apply these practices to their own home, backyard, and neighborhood. Parents can be encouraged to support and encourage their children in these positive actions. But also the community can be involved. They can visit the municipality to see what steps are being taken to clean up the environment and have they taken small children into consideration….trash bins that are accessible for young kids, etc. Also children can work with the municipality in planting flowers in common areas or tree planting events. You can take children to visit environmentally -oriented NGOs to learn more about environmental practices.

10 Benefits of Collaboration between Parents and the Preschool
Two caring parties (parents/families and the preschool) are in harmony on messages Both support the development of similar skills Both understand and accept the values of the other Both share positive attitudes on the child and his/her abilities Both prioritize the child and his/her needs These are the benefits that children receive when you work in partnership with others, particularly parents. However, including other community organizations if possible is also recommended.

11 Indicators of Success of Family, Community and Preschool Collaboration
Students Increased knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes Acceptance of responsibility (including attending, following directions and agree upon rules/laws) Increased self-esteem and confidence Social and working relationships improve Preschool evaluation and self-direction/regulation Physical functions of preschool enhanced Health, maintenance, and environment of preschool improved Safe behavior practices applied In order to be able to improve your program of cooperation with others you should try to set certain measures that you want to keep track of. For students…are they showing increased skills and knowledge in the area you are focusing on…whether it is road safety, environment issues, following rules, etc. How can you measure community involvement…have they adapted their environment, are they visiting the preschool, have they made changes to their program. Keep a running record of what changes you note and adapt your program annually to ensure that progress in school, home, and community involvement is increasing and improving.

12 Indicators (continued)
Increased number of vulnerable and needy children attend preschool on a regular basis Families & communities improve coordination, exchange of information, and share resources Preschool offers increased social and emotional support for families Preschool and community support family access to assistance and support available. Increased parent and community awareness on importance of early childhood education and development Increased number of family and /or community activities with the preschool • Increased family/preschool collaboration Number of parent visits to preschool increases Number of teacher visits to home increases This set of indicators can provide a starting place for you to measure progress. Identify a key set of indicators that you would like to measure or keep tabs on throughout the year. Establish a baseline which provides you with a measure of what currently happens within the preschool (eg. Average number of parent visits/year or number of community visits). Then start a running record of how many times these events occur. You should try to relate an increase or decrease in the occurrence with the practices you are applying to improve parent/community/preschool collaboration.

13 Why Teachers Should Invest Time in the Community
Provides opportunities to benefit from community resources – human, material, and financial Increases teacher awareness of what kinds of resources and services are available that can enrich the preschool and the child and his/her family Increased sense of safety and security for the preschool and children while in school or out of school Allows for greater diversity of activities within the preschool Enhances teachers understanding of the world in which children live in and how they can adapt Allows teachers to understand negative practices that may need to change Allows teacher to introduce new services and programs into the preschool environment The preschool teacher expands her level of contact with a variety of different partners who are interested in improving children’s learning and development. This allows the teacher to access different kinds of resources. For instance, doctors who might do simple screening for children’s vision or transportation specialists at the municipality who help to make the streets safer for children. This type of expanded contact also increases community awareness on the importance of early childhood education and the important role that preschool teachers play. Can you name other types of benefits that might be gained by investing time in the community? Does it have any personal, social, or professional benefits for teachers and the family for instance? What kinds of organizations would you consider are appropriate to initiate contact and cooperation with?

14 What kinds of services are available in the community?
Prevention Actions: Healthy Development, Safe and Protected Environment, Family and Community Ownership and Participation, Recreation and Sports, Early Intervention: Raising awareness on disabilities, poverty, school and community support programs, student assistance, health related issues Treatment: Emergency care, special needs assistance, health care support, protection and care systems. Here are some ideas of kinds of services and community programs you might want to consider establishing working relations with. You don’t have to start with a large number of partnerships…pick one or two places, make a visit to them to find out what kinds of work they are doing, explain to them what you are trying to do in establishing partnerships with relevant organizations in order to enhance children’s knowledge about their community, organizing community efforts that will acknowledge and take into consideration the well being and development of young children, and determine which sites are most beneficial to begin with. Each year add on 2 new organizations and over time you will have expanded your relationships with the community. What is needed is to prioritize what kinds of organizations you need to be working with. For instance, do children live in high conflict areas? You might want to start off with centers that offer psychosocial support and assistance or recreational opportunities for children. Do you live in a highly impoverished area…maybe working with charitable organizations and municipalities will afford greater support and cooperation with families and children. Maybe you are having problems with children getting to school safely. Maybe you need to meet with youth groups that can help ensure children’s safety when walking on the streets. Try to analyze your situation and determine what kinds of community participation is needed. A starting point might be by organizing a parent meeting and discussing the issue and getting their ideas and support on establishing these community contacts.

15 Entry Point for Parent-Preschool Interactions
During registration period (while school is still in session) Encourage parent visits to the preschool with the child Introduction to teachers and key staff Introduction to environment and resources available Introduction to preschool learning curriculum Sharing teacher’s expectations of the child and parents Arranging means of contact between parents and teachers Setting up informal meetings to provide parents with opportunity to meet with other parents Setting up meetings with parents of children in preschool to share views Its important to start off with as much information and collaboration with parents as possible- even before the start of the school. This should include an introductory process for parents and child to visit the preschool and learn about the objectives, goals, expectation, environment, curriculum and activities that will happen during the year. It is suggested that parents and children visit the preschool at the end of the school year to see the classroom in action. This provides them with a direct experience of how teachers interact with children and allows them an opportunity to ask questions based on their observations. This also provides the optimum time for teachers to share their expectation on certain principles that they will be encouraging with the young children…like safety issues, healthy lifestyle and practices, parental involvement, etc.

16 Ways to Help the Child Get Comfortable within the Preschool
Before preschool begins Parents should bring child to visit preschool Observe other children at play Allow child to spend some time interacting with other children (opportunity to see positive interactions) Allow child to ask teacher and parent about the preschool Allow teacher to get to know the child and the child to become familiar with the teacher Start communicating with parents before the first day of school. During registration you should take all necessary contact information from parents, invite them to an open day where they can visit the preschool in action and have their child attend to familiarize both with the preschool setting and routine. Allow certain dates where parents and/or child can come and speak one on one with the teachers to ask questions and gather more information on what is likely to take place within the preschool. This is a good time for the teacher to learn more personal information on the child and parents. This is confidential information, but will help the teacher to develop a working relationship with the family. Use this time to find out if parents can be more involved in the preschool. Can they come on a regular basis and volunteer their time in assisting teachers in the classroom? Do they have special talents or skills they would like to share with children…art, storytelling, cooking, exercise routines, etc. The setting should be casual and open so that parents see that the preschool is a place where the child is placed at the center of the curriculum. You want them to understand that you are using a holistic approach and empowering children to understand their environment, how it functions, how they can interact positively, and that cooperation and participation between all parties is encouraged.

17 Establishing Rapport with Parents
Ask parents about their child Is this their first child or have other children gone to preschool before? Do they have other members of the family living with them (extended family support)? Have they received information on early childhood development? Are they interested in learning more about child development and innovative ways of helping children to learn? Will they have time to spend at the preschool: Participating on a regular basis Assisting in the classroom Meetings Use this time to establish a one on one dialogue with the parents. This interviewing space will allow you to gather a greater understanding of the parents needs. It also affords parents with an opportunity to ask questions about the preschool and share their expectations. Your objective should be to encourage parental involvement and collaboration within the preschool.

18 Child-Parent-Preschool (continued)
Allows parents and child to share personal information with the teacher on the child Allows child to ask questions and raise concerns about going to preschool Teacher should give parents a small briefing on what to expect on the first day of school Child adjustment Expected agenda How to prepare the child for preschool What the child needs to bring to preschool What the parent expects How to cope with any issues that may arise Prep the parents to provide information on what kinds of behaviors the child is likely to exhibit during the first few days of school. Find out how parents want to deal with this situation. For instance, do they want to stay with their child at the start of the school year? Will they drop the child off and remain for a short period? Will the child be able to contact the parent and have them come if they are very upset and can’t be calmed down?

19 Parent-Preschool Interactions Day 1
Start of school year Send out invitations to parents to attend preschool for the first day (a few hours) Have an agenda set of what activities you will be doing on the first day (making their own “name tags”, finding a place to sit, visiting all the rooms of the preschool, outdoor play games, safety measures, etc.) Have special activities that the parents can be doing with the child Introducing children to one another Playing games with the children Helping children to make their name tags Making a little clock to show when the parents will return The first day of school is always hectic. Having parents present for the first hour or two is usually recommended. The parents can help their children make name tags, take photos, discover the preschool, and the child can see the parent(s) interacting with teachers. The parents can also inform the teacher of any particular concerns the child may have…who is going to help them unbutton their pants if they want to use the restroom, letting the child know how and when the parents will return, if the child is hit by another child, what can they do? Parents are usually good at identifying what concerns their young children will have in a new situation. So it is worthwhile to give them time and space to provide you with this information. Play fun games with children….learning one another’s name, favorite games, a funny story, playing simple games like Simon Says… Parent should know what to expect on the first day of school Can they attend the whole day What to do if their child cries Have they filled out all the necessary forms (health, contact information, allergies, etc.) Who is the child’s teacher Should they participate in the activities When should they take the child home

20 Child-Parent-Preschool Actions Day 1
Brief the child on what he/she is likely to see at the preschool Remind them of their earlier visit to the preschool What did they like most Who do they expect to see at the preschool What kinds of games and fun things do they remember they could do Remind them of their teacher – use her name Address any questions the child may have with honesty Where will the parent be when the child is at preschool Who will pick them up Why do they have to go to preschool How long will they be at the preschool Will the teacher call the parent if the child wants to speak to her These are key concerns that you should address in preparation for the first day. Teachers should be prepared to Interact with parents and child so this should include joint activities Address any questions the parents have or set aside time after school to meet with parents Provide parents with a phone number to contact teacher if they want information on the child (specify which times you can receive a call) Help parents in preparing their child for the second day of school Dealing with children who don’t want to come back Answering questions their children may have Addressing problem situations that arose

21 Suggested parenting group sessions
Stages of early childhood development Parenting skills Preschool Educational and Learning Curriculum Parental communication Child discipline Children with special needs Social development of children Community involvement Healthy lifestyles Open sessions –to be agreed upon Most parents have never had any formal training on child development and education. The preschool provides a perfect forum to serve as a center for increasing their knowledge and skills. You can think about arranging a series of different discussion groups to address topics that parents find interesting. Organize a general parent meeting. Let them know that you are interested in organizing some educational sessions. Get their opinions … you can provide a list of suggested topics…they can agree with them, edit, etc. Then you can determine if you, another teacher, the principal has sufficient knowledge to lead a discussion group or if you would like to invite in a guest speaker. There are many organizations that can support you….including the Ministry of Education, the Early Childhood Resource Center, Palestinian Counseling Center, the YMCA, university lecturers, doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, charitable organization leaders, etc. Try establishing contact with one agency and get recommendations from them on who else can provide support for the preschool.

22 Routine parent meetings and activities
Set up 2 hours per month were parents can drop in for a cup of coffee and talk to teachers School should be ready to have a teacher/assistant on duty to watch over children as the other teachers meet with parents Structure the meeting as a whole group meeting to allow parents to share their issues or concerns with one another If a parent wants a private consultation arrange that time separately Reach out to parents and ask them if they know people and agencies that they are interested in meeting and hearing from. Frequently parents have participated in other events where they heard someone speak. But they were not able to get all the information they wanted…the topic was not exactly what they wanted, or there was limited time, or they heard about the speaker from a friend, etc. Check out their information, make a visit to the person and /or agency and see if they are able to provide your group with the information they need. You should probably hold a preparatory meeting with the speakers to provide them information on the preschool, parents, and any special concerns you may have. For instance, you may want to encourage them to support the inclusion of children with special needs or encourage them to speak to parents about home and preschool cooperation. Get their support in advance for issues that you are having to address in the preschool.

23 Routine parent meetings and activities
Set up sign up sheet for parents who want to participate in daily activities within the preschool Encourage parents to attend and assist in carrying out activities within the classroom Find out what special skills or talents a parent may have – storytelling, singing, making things, cooking, drawing, playing an instrument, etc. and encourage them to share their knowledge in the classroom Find out what kind of work parents do – take the children to visit them at their workplace Fire station, police station, park worker, doctor, carpenter, university Have parents come to school and do show and tell about their jobs Parents can be a great source of information and learning for the preschool staff and children, too. Encourage parents to come up with ideas on how they can benefit the preschool and children themselves Parents can be great storytellers, artists, aides, and can help to set up contact with other organizations. Encourage parents to be partners with you in developing community collaboration.

24 Community Involvement by Preschool Staff
Principal of school can initiate list of various community organizations, centers, and services that relate to health, protection, education, recreation, safety, economic and poverty assistance, etc. Make visits to different centers to see what they know about the preschool, kinds of programs they are currently doing with children and families Introduce new ideas and suggestions on preschool – agency cooperation and coordination (formal and/or informal agreements can be drawn up) Identify key focal person within the agency who can be the contact person for later meetings and visits Invite members of various agencies to visit the preschool Provide them with information on the preschools objectives and which children are attending and those who are not attending Identify kinds of support the agency can provide for the preschool and/or family Identify key problems/strengths of children, families, community Being prepared and gearing up for outreach takes time. So budget it into your schedule. The principal can be a key supporter in this process. Teachers play a primary role in suggesting what kinds of community collaboration could benefit their school based activities. For instance, on road safety teachers could help children to understand the importance of road safety practices…holding hands with an adult when crossing the street, wearing a seat belt, etc. But this could be enhanced by a visit to the police station and hearing from police themselves on ways to protect children on the road and to actually take them on a safe walking tour. The principal can play a key role in setting up these contacts and meetings.

25 Types of Community Based Programs
Health (physical and mental) Education (child, siblings, and parents) Social services (protection, security) Job and employment opportunities Recreation (youth, parks, sports center) Neighborhood/community improvement Visiting other service oriented centers is a fun activity for children and parents alike. A visit to the dentist….is fun for children, especially if the dentist is friendly, explains why children need to take care of their teeth, and it is informative for parents…they can see why they need to have preventive dental care for children, ask specific questions,…this becomes even more interesting for children if the dentist is a parent of one of the children. It makes the dentist seem more friendly. Visiting the 1st grade is an exciting journey for children. It helps them to understand where they will be going. It can clear up any misunderstandings they may have…”children have to sit in seats and never move.” So think of short trips to everyday places that can fun and exciting for children to visit and provide them with the opportunity to visit a place that they have heard about, but not seen yet. It helps to familiarize children, get rid of misperceptions, and encourage children’s curiosity.

26 Issues to Consider When Linking with Community Organizations
Can the various community programs and services Come to the preschool to provide services and programs Can the children visit the community centers Does the community center currently have working relationships with families Non existent – no contact Information dissemination Cooperating – provide assistance if requested Coordinating – provide direct services and programs for child and family Integrated – provide services and programs in home and/or preschool Which kinds of support can be further developed? promoting healthy development of the child Support the prevention of problems – financial, protection, health Encourage early intervention support for families in need – mental, economic, violence, problems Each organization is different. When deciding which places you would like to collaborate with determine what kinds of resources they will be able to provide? How can you maintain contact with them? Are they able to come to the preschool or do you have to take the children to them? What are your expectations from the community organization? You should go prepared to these meetings with a set of questions you would like to ask and leave with a clear idea on how the preschool and community organization can collaborate with one another.

27 Other types of community services
Police and Fire Station Library Municipal agencies and bodies (e.g., parks and recreation, library, police, fire, courts, civic event units) Family crisis and support centers, helplines, hotlines – psychosocial networks shelters, mediation and dispute resolution centers, private practitioners) Other child care/preschool centers Visits to universities and colleges Religious centers Museums Can you think of other places to visit?

28 Expanding Circles of Collaboration
Preschool becomes a hub for bringing the family and community together to support the child’s development, education, and safety Preschool becomes an educational site for family and community to increase their knowledge, skills, and contributions to child well being and development Preschool has increased access to a variety of different resources that can ensure the long term development and sustainability of the program Establishing communication and partnership with communities and homes of children is an art. There is no specific way that you have to adopt. You can take it slowly or develop a big program…it depends on you and the needs of your classroom. Learn from each of the visits and partnerships what works well, what needs to be rethought out, and think about what you can offer them, too. Many organizations enjoy learning more about preschools and are interested in contributing time and resources for young children. This should be a pleasurable activity that enriches the lives of all. Enjoy your working relationships with families and communities and see how the lives of children are improved!!!

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