Full, Equal and Equitable Partnerships with Families

Chart 1: What Does High-Impact Family Engagement Look Like in Early Childhood Programs?

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Higher Impact on student learning and development

Moderate Impact

Lower Impact

1. Families and childcare providers do neighborhood walks to meet prospective families and hand out program information, books, and growth charts.

Springtime open house for new families, hosted by current families.

Preschool registration on program website or drop in.

2. Family-to-Family Learning! Pre-K families share family engagement strategies with new families in familiar neighborhood settings and sign them up for things like Parent Teacher Home Visits, Ready4K, and Community Café. Short videos of families’ sharing are sent with texts or emails to families who couldn’t attend, with sign-up sheets and surveys attached.

Family Night. Families visit classrooms, meet teachers, view children’s work, sign-up to volunteer, and receive a family phone tree compiled by staff.

Back to School Night. Families visit classrooms, meet teachers, and have refreshments.

3. A program communication app, like Class DOJO, creates two-way communication and ongoing exchange of knowledge between families and teachers.

Monthly phone calls, emails, or texts with information on program activities.

Program newsletter with generic messaging.

4. Children take turns taking home The Book Bag (a book, a journal with family assignment, and colored pencils). When the Book Bag is returned after two nights, children share their experience and drawings during morning meeting.

Children pick a book to take home so their families can read aloud.

Families volunteer to read stories in the program.

5. During classroom observations, teachers model strategies to support specific learning at home. Families ask questions and practice strategies with each other then go home with a “tip sheet.” Short videos modeling the strategies are sent with emails or texts to families who couldn’t attend, and a list of the families’ questions and teachers’ answers are attached along with the tip sheet.

At evening meetings, staff share information regarding areas of child development with families and show how those areas are covered in the classroom.

Teachers send home written materials on developmental areas (e.g. social- emotional, motor, cognitive).

6. Parent Teacher Home Visits twice a year. Teachers visit in the fall to launch relationships and in winter or spring to share information to support smooth transition to kindergarten.

Parent-Teacher Conferences twice a year, available evenings and on weekends.

Parent Teacher Conferences by appointment during work days.

7. Monthly Community Cafés Hosted by trained family members, parents take part in meaningful, guided conversations during which they support and learn from each other and collect input and feedback for the program.

Monthly breakfast gatherings for families and staff.

Families can visit the program site by appointment.

8. Community Café participants have a voice in all major program decisions and develop and support parent-initiated projects.

Families can volunteer to meet with program director or family care provider quarterly to share family feedback.

Suggestion box in the office/ provider’s home.

9. Families Come to Build Day! Scheduled throughout the year, family members come to school to build with their children. Teachers collect a huge variety of blocks, put up posters with tips for the activity so family members ask open-ended questions, model appropriate descriptive vocabulary, and document the building process with photos and dictated stories from the children.

Family Day Events planned by families, family members come to school, read to their children, do crafts, and enjoy refreshments.

Family Day Celebration Annual party with games and food.