Engaging Families in Early Education

Research shows that when parents are actively involved and engaged in their child’s education, children are more successful.  Positive, engaging and meaningful family engagement promotes healthy school relationships and assists in establishing the foundation for your child success.  To promote family engagement within your school each year, effective communication is key.  Here at The Children’s Workshop early learning programs we believe that family engagement and open and honest communication is the key to a successful childcare experience. This segment was featured on The Rhode Show. Watch it here!

Where do you begin with Family Engagement at your school:

Start with the NAEYC Standard for families:

  • Standard 7: Families (1 of the 10 NAEYC Program Standards): “The program establishes and maintains collaborative relationships with each child’s family to foster children’s development in all settings. These relationships are sensitive to family composition, language, and culture. To support children’s optimal learning and development, programs need to establish relationships with families based on mutual trust and respect, involve families in their children’s educational growth, and encourage families to fully participate in the program.”

  Next Steps – NAEYC’s recommendations for “What to look for in a program:”

Get Involved – All families are welcome and encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the program.

Adapt to your community of families – Teachers and staff talk with families about their family structure and their views on childrearing and use that information to adapt the curriculum and teaching methods to the families served.

Communication – The program uses a variety of strategies to communicate with families, including family conferences, new family orientations, and individual conversations.

Provide clear program information—including policies and operating procedures—is provided in a language that families can understand. Ex. Parent Handbook, Parent Orientation

Supporting Communication:

Communication is the foundation of effective partnerships at all early learning centers

Parents (or other involved family members) and our early learning programs will communicate regularly and clearly about information that is important to our student’s success.  We will do this through monthly newsletters, e-mails, face to face communication, daily notes, parent and community boards. Family orientation, apps and Parent Committees.  

Our programs will also inform families about standards and how they relate to the curriculum, learning objectives, methods of assessment, discipline codes, family resources and student progress.  We will share this information through newsletters, handbooks, parent teacher conferences, open houses and portfolios.  Translations will be made available, if needed, to ensure non-English speaking parents are fully informed.  However, personal communication, whether by phone, face to face or e-mail is always welcomed at our programs.  We encourage and welcome daily communication and feedback from all our families.

Supporting Family Events:

Families can support early learning centers and children’s learning in very important ways.

Family members can volunteer in classrooms, at family events, share their talents, join our parent committee, as well as assist with filed trips, teacher’s helpers and lunch and snack time duties.  They can also organize the center events, plan and attend student performances and help with fundraisers.  We promote and open door policy in all our programs. 

Promotes an environment that welcomes family engagement and participation.

We accomplish this goal by greeting and welcoming families to our centers daily.  We also have family supports and resources in place to provide information to link families to community resources.  Each of our centers offers the opportunities for parents and staff to have informal meetings to discuss family ideas and concerns to aid in making each child successful in their early learning experience.  These family supports all contribute to our family-friendly atmosphere.  Families always come first at TCW!

Supporting Home Activities:

Our Families support and model children’s education at home.

Encourage families to support our children in developing good homework and early literacy habits at home by reading to your children, encouraging outdoor play, monitoring TV viewing and promoting healthy eating and sleeping habits.  Families can also model and promote good learning practices through your own continuing education activities.

Educators guide and support families in parent-child activities.

Teachers will suggest parent-child activities that work in conjunction with our curriculum.  Some learning activities may include skills to work on at home, enrichment games or any other activities that support early education.  Our Teachers also play an important role of informing parents of early learning standards and school expectations for early learning. 

This article was written by Kelli DiDomenico, V.P. of Family Engagement and Community Relations at The Children’s Workshop in Cumberland, RI.