Holiday Activities

Quality Start LA Holiday Activity Guides//Guías de actividades

Holidays present an excellent opportunity to introduce high-quality early learning moments. Click on each image below to download a PDF and follow the links. 

Los días festivos presentan una oportunidad excelente para introducir momentos de aprendizaje temprano de alta calidad. Haga clic en cada imagen para descargar un PDF y siga los enlaces.

January//Enero

February//Febrero

September//Septiembre

October//Octubre

November//Noviembre

Looking for more great resources?//¿Busca más recursos geniales?

Browse Quality Start LA child-friendly activities and booklists. // Heche un vistazo a las actividades y listas de libros adecuados para niños/as de Quality Start Los Ángeles. 


Supporting Families with Concrete Support in Challenging Times

December 15, 2020, 11:11am

Lee esta artículo en español

Back in May, we looked at the Strengthening Families Framework and its relation to our Family Engagement work. As you may recall, it is grounded in taking a strengths-based approach to working with families, where relationship-building is intentional and based on trust. A key component is the idea of approaching family engagement with collaboration in mind, working together towards reaching a mutual set of goals that support the long-term success of our children and families.

                This month, we focus on a specific Strengthening Families Protective Factor: Concrete Support in Times of Need.

Concrete support refers to resources and services that address a family’s needs and help to minimize the stress caused by difficult challenges and adversity. This type of support helps to ensure that families have access to the necessities that everyone deserves to grow up healthy and have the opportunity for a successful life.

Concrete supports come in many forms, including:

Strengthening Families Via Concrete Support

Raising a child and supporting a stable family environment requires families to meet numerous basic needs such as food, clothing, housing, and transportation to health and child care. In normal times, this is a lot to manage for many of the families we serve, but these challenges are even greater now. 

When the adults in a family are stressed, this often causes stress in the children as well. However, when the support systems in a family’s life, such as friends, family members, educators, etc. provide information and connections to available resources that aid families in meeting their basic needs, it gives the family a great opportunity to find equilibrium and further thrive.

Why is it important for early educators to share concrete supports?

  • Early educators have greater opportunities to support families’ needs earlier in life, when chances to affect long-term change are greatest.
  • Early educators often engage more with families, due to the young age of the children; this allows for increased opportunities to build strong relationship with families and for families to feel more comfortable communicating when they need supports.

Opting for a Perspective vs. Prescriptive Approach

 A prescriptive approach is one where we try to “diagnose” what we see is “wrong”

  • Our biases come into play
  • We reach ideas or solutions without including them

 With a perspective approach, we seek to take a family’s point of view

  • We consider their reality & think about their influences
  • Interactions become strengths-based and collaborative in seeking a solutioP

"Families don't care what you know, until they know that you care."

Incorporating Family Voice

 

Determine families’ needs:  It is important to gather information directly from families as to what kinds of resources or services they need. You can use formal and informal methods to conduct a needs-assessment (see the link at end of this article for some examples). Other ways to gather this information include surveys, conversations at pick-up time, phone calls, a drop-box, etc.

Take inventory of your families’ local knowledge: Families often have a wealth of knowledge about community resources, in addition to a valuable perspective. Ask them what other ideas or resources they know about and are worth sharing with other families. What resources/supports already exist in the community level that you may not be aware of? This same effort can be made with your program staff, who may live locally. 

Be creative and collaborative: What communication methods have worked with families to share resources? Would hearing about another family’s success story in using a specific support encourage other families to explore more resources themselves? Keep in mind that when it comes to communicating with families, using multiple communication methods (i.e. text, e-mail, newsletter, social media, workshop, personal recommendation, etc.) helps ensure that all families are reached.

See the table below for ideas of how family voice can be involved at different levels. (Click image for PDF)

This method of engaging with families empowers their voice in addition to highlighting their community-based knowledge and bonds with other families.  Based on the information gathered from families, we are now able to provide resources and supports to meet families’ needs more intentionally and effectively.

 

Sharing Resources in a Strengths-Based Way

As a general goal when working with families through a strengths-based approach, it is important to recognize what we bring to the interaction: our own ideas, biases, expectations, assumptions, emotions, judgement, etc. A strengths-based approach considers a family’s reality, taking their perspective. This is where taking a perspective vs. prescriptive approach in working with families is essential to shifting towards a strengths-based mindset.

Parents and families need experiences that enable them to understand their rights in accessing services, gain knowledge of relevant services and learn how to navigate through service systems. In working as family and child-serving programs, it is important to clearly communicate to parents that seeking help is not an indicator of weakness or failure as a parent.

Here are some tips for using a strengths-based approach to sharing resources with the families we serve:

  • Use kind and reassuring tone
  • Share resources in a positive way, that encourages the family to learn more
  • Be both proactive and reactive; Reactive: assist families with immediate needs and Proactive: share valuable resources with all families in case others need the resource in the future.
  • Make sure to share requested resources, not resources we may assume they need.
  • Offer a private environment to speak, for their comfort and sense of safety (i.e. offer families a private room onsite to discuss needs, and call or e-mail supports)
  • Go the extra mile to make the first connection between a parent/caregiver and a resource via a phone call, video call, or email, to help them begin navigating how to use the resource
  • Follow up to see how the family’s experience with a resource turned out and if there are any additional ways we can provide support.

Providing families with support in a positive and strength-based way can help avoid adding stress to an already stressful situation and continue to build an even stronger relationship with the families we work with.

 

Methods of Sharing Information: In Person and Virtually

Once a needs-assessment is complete that includes family input, more relevant concrete supports can be shared. Some key points to consider when sharing resource information with families:

  • Have resources available in multiple places – online and in person, via social media, program website, etc.
  • Increase access by using different formats – consider different options such as flyers, text messages, videos, bulletin boards, podcasts, PDFs, etc.
  • Keep it short and sweet – making the effort to be concise, clear, offer relevant information, and one main action point per message
  • Translate for the target audience! – Ensure that communication methods include multiple languages as needed for the families served. Double check translations with a human or reliable sites like wordreference.com. Do not rely solely on Google Translate!
  • Ensure the program team is onboard – make sure they have knowledge about the information being shared so they can answer questions if families reach out to them directly about a particular resource
  • Update resource information regularly and make sure program staff is aware of updates. It helps to have a staff member to manage these periodic updates and designate time in staff meetings for them to be updated.

In these pandemic times, a hybrid of in person and digital communication resources are often our best bet. If you’re interested in a sample breakdown of how both in-person and digital communication methods can be incorporated in programs of various levels, see below. (Click image for PDF)

As with any approach, consider what your program and staff can sustainably implement for your families.

 

Concrete Support for Families in LA County

Here is a round-up of resources that families can use, for both difficult and normal times:

  • Click here for a resource infographic with information about: Support Hubs, Food Support, Housing Assistance and Employment and Legal Assistance
  • Click here for a resource infographic with information about Transportation, Mental and Physical Health, Domestic Violence/Abuse, and Regional Supports (Long Beach and Antelope Valley)

For more ideas on how you can provide concrete support to the families you serve, read Concrete Support in Times of Need (Center for the Study of Social Policy). Page 7 & 8 include more information as well as questions for a needs-assessment.

The approach we use to connect families to concrete supports is pivotal in developing a family’s knowledge of and ability to maneuver within support systems. A supported, connected family becomes a more resilient and successful family.

If you have a resource that you do not see listed here, please email me a link to the recommended resource at: Cristina.Espinoza@ccala.net.

Cristina Espinoza
Family Education Coordinator, Quality Start Los Angeles

Cristina Espinoza has worked as a family and youth development professional for 5 years, including having served as a Peace Corps Volunteer as a youth development promoter in Costa Rica. In conjunction with Quality Start Los Angeles, Cristina is passionate about supporting families to feel empowered in the changing landscape of their surroundings with their children’s wellbeing at the forefront.  She is a champion of strengths-based systems and services that build resilient families and youth.


Read from the Start – Current Month en Espanol

Read from the Start

Lee en inglés

 

Read from the Start – Quality Start LA se ha unido con el Sistema de la Biblioteca Pública de Los Ángeles (LAPL por sus siglas en ingles), el Sistema de Biblioteca del Condado de Los Ángeles (LACL por sus siglas en ingles) ,  la Biblioteca pública de Pasadena y Sesame Street in Communities para traerle “Read from the Start.

Cada mes, QSLA y sus sistemas de bibliotecas locales trabajarán juntos para desarrollar una lista de libros temática, consejos de lectura y actividades familiares, todo diseñado para familias con niños desde recién nacidos a cinco años. Haga clic en las listas de libros Read From the Start a continuación para descargar una de las listas en formato PDF.

Enero 2021: Cuerpos Sanos, Mentes Sanas

Lista de libro mensual: ¡Para imprimir y compartir!

Haga clic en las siguientes imágenes para descargar el PDF de las listas de libros, o siga hasta la parte inferior de la página para encontrar todos los libros en su biblioteca pública, Biblioteca del condado de Los Angeles y la Biblioteca Pública de Pasadena.

Haga clic a las imágenes debajo para descargar las versiones PDF 

Actividad del Mes: ¡Muévete en cualquier lugar, en cualquier momento!

¡Los niños no necesitan un gran espacio al aire libre para moverse! ¡Compruebe algunas formas sencillas de incorporar más actividad en su rutina diaria para que el nuevo año comience con fuerza y salud!

  1. En marcha: En lugar de caminar hacia el coche, anime a los niños a saltar como ranas o saltar como conejitos. Incluso cuando se abrochen en su asiento de coche, los niños pueden estirarse: subirse alto, girar de lado a lado para mirar por ambas ventanas, y bajar la mano para hacer cosquillas en los dedos de los pies.
  2. En frente de la televisión: Convierte los descansos comerciales en fiestas de baile rápido; ¡levantarse y bailar o hacer saltos de tijera hasta que el comercial ha terminado!
  3. En el dormitorio: A veces los niños necesitan “sacar algo de energía” antes de acostarse. Pídales a los niños que salten a sus direcciones: Salten en su pie izquierdo y luego en el de la derecha, de un lado de la habitación a otro, o que salten en el mismo lugar, en un círculo o en una línea, y así sucesivamente.
Esta actividad está inspirada por “Muévete en cualquier lugar, en cualquier momento” de Plaza Sésamo en Comunidades.

Para más actividades relacionadas con la alfabetización, haga clic en los enlaces que aparecen a continuación para involucrar a los niños en las historias y mantener activas sus mentes y cuerpos pequeños.

Cuentos y Actividades ASL(Lenguaje gestual Americano por sus siglas en inglés)

Sesamo

Haga clic en los siguientes enlaces para ver más libros disponibles para leer en voz alta de:

Read Conmigo: Libros bilingües gratuitos para niños y recursos de alfabetización para niños preescolar hasta quinto grado

Spanishprofe.com: Canales de YouTube que tienen muchos libros leídos en voz alta en español que atraerían a los estudiantes de Kindergarten, primer y segundo grado

Spanishmama.com: Una colección de historias bilingüe y en español en línea y para leer en voz alta.

Consejo Mensual de Lectura Familiar: Nuevo Año, Nuevo Vocabulario

Ayude a aumentar el creciente vocabulario de su hijo introduciendo nuevas palabras para que las escuchen y/o las usen. En lugar de preguntar si su hijo está enojado, pregunte si está frustrado o disgustado. En lugar de preguntar si está feliz, pregunte si está encantado. También puede añadir palabras nuevas cuando responda a las declaraciones de su pequeño. Por ejemplo, cuando su hijo dice: “Veo un perro”. Puede responder con, “Sí, es un perro peludo y marrón. Veo su cola meneando.” ¡Cuanto más use un nuevo vocabulario, más pronto lo probará su pequeño por su cuenta!

¡Saque estos libros en su biblioteca local!

Encuentre los libros de este mes disponibles para descarga digital en su biblioteca local o para lectura en voz alta en Youtube.

Acceda a más listas de libros de nuestro archivo Read from the Start

¿Busca más recursos excelentes?

Explore la colección de lista de librosguía de actividades para niñosrecursos de coronavirus, y guía de actividades navideñas de Quality Start LA.


Fundamental Early Learning Programs-Spanish

¿Interesado en llevar su programa al siguiente nivel? ¡Únase a Quality Start LA hoy mismo!

¿Tiene usted un hogar de cuidado infantil familiar o un centro de cuidado infantil que no recibe fondos de CSPP?

¡Quality Start Los Ángeles está inscribiendo AHORA!

¡Inscríbase hoy!

NOTA: Si ya ha enviado una solicitud, su programa actualmente está en la lista de espera. Por favor, no envíe una nueva solicitud.

Quality Start Los Ángeles (QSLA) ha hecho un compromiso para asegurar la equidad en el sistema de aprendizaje temprano en el condado de Los Ángeles. Como resultado, QSLA ha analizado los datos disponibles para identificar a las comunidades de mayor prioridad en dicho condado, en donde los esfuerzos de inscripción de QSLA se enfocarán. La meta de QSLA es asegurar que los recursos y servicios estén enfocados en los programas de educación temprana, y en las comunidades que tradicionalmente han recibido una distribución desigual o un acceso limitado a los apoyos y servicios programáticos.

Aunque los proveedores en comunidades no identificadas como de mayor prioridad podrán potencialmente inscribirse en QSLA, estamos ofreciendo acceso prioritario a los proveedores de las áreas designadas. Los espacios restantes serán ofrecidos a los solicitantes basados en los otros criterios de inscripción. Para conocer más sobre los criterios que usamos al inscribir nuevos programas en QSLA, haga clic aquí*.

  Haga clic aquí para PDF

  • Apoyo individual de un consejero altamente capacitado. Juntos, ustedes desarrollarán un plan personalizado de mejora de la calidad (Quality Improvement Plan o QIP) el cual trazará las metas para ese año, con responsabilidad incorporada ¡para ayudarlo a alcanzar esas metas!
  • Acceso ilimitado a oportunidades de desarrollo profesional de vanguardia, ¡disponible en inglés y en español!
  • Capacitación y asistencia técnica ajustada a las áreas de interés específicas de su programa.
  • Acceso a las series de capacitación autoguiadas de QSLA, las cuales incluyen temas tales como:
    • Pruebas de evaluación del desarrollo y crecimiento
    • Desarrollo profesional
    • Interacción efectiva maestro-niño
    • Ambiente/entorno del programa
    • Liderazgo del programa
    • Compromiso familiar
    • Diversidad, inclusión y equidad
    • Atención plena y cuidado personal
  • Oportunidades de aprendizaje entre colegas, de tal manera que usted pueda aprender y compartir sus éxitos y soluciones con compañeros proveedores de aprendizaje temprano.
  • Incentivos financieros, ($600/sitio, anualmente) basados en la disponibilidad de fondos.
  • Una autoevaluación para guiar los servicios que recibirá de QSLA. No se requiere una evaluación formal.

Haga clic a las imágenes debajo para descargar la versión PDF de estos folletos.

                                           

P¿Puedo inscribirme en este nuevo modelo de QSLA si mi programa ya es participante de QSLA?

R. No. Esta oportunidad es exclusivamente para los programas de aprendizaje temprano que no están inscritos actualmente en QSLA.

P.¿Qué tipos de proveedores pueden calificar para QSLA?

R. Cualquier hogar de cuidado infantil familiar con licencia o centro no financiado por el estado (sin financiamiento de CSPP) puede solicitar QSLA. Usted debe tener licencia y estar al día por 6 meses antes de solicitar participar en QSLA. Ya sea que haya estado en el campo del aprendizaje temprano por 6 meses o 20 años, ¡QSLA es para usted!

P. ¿Puedo inscribirme en este nuevo modelo de mejora de la calidad de QSLA si ya estaba inscrito previamente, pero me di de baja o ya no soy participante por alguna otra razón?

R. Si. Usted puede reinscribirse a QSLA si aún es un centro no financiado por el estado (sin financiamiento de CSPP) o un hogar de cuidado infantil familiar con licencia y está al día por al menos 6 meses.

P. ¿Es este modelo de QSLA el mismo que requiere una evaluación de UCLA?

R. No. Este nuevo modelo de mejora de la calidad no incluye una observación externa, ni tampoco otorga una calificación de la calidad. Todos los proveedores de cuidado infantil familiar (FCC, por sus siglas en inglés) y proveedores no financiados por CSPP recientemente inscritos en QSLA, participarán en este nuevo modelo.

P. Tengo amigos cuyos programas participan en QSLA, ¿en que difiere este modelo de QSLA y el de ellos?

R. Hay algunas similitudes y diferencias entre el modelo para programas financiados por CSPP, para FCCs o para centros privados que ya participan en QSLA:

Diferencias:

  1. No existe evaluación formal en este modelo de QSLA que incluya instrumentos de valoración como CLASS o la escala de calificación ERS, ni otra documentación. Los proveedores participantes en este modelo solamente completarán una autoevaluación.
  2. Este modelo está enfocado en las necesidades de su programa y podría no necesariamente enfocarse en los elementos de calificación de calidad de California (Quality Counts California Rating Matrix).
  3. Los proveedores participantes en este modelo tendrán acceso a nuestra nueva serie de aprendizaje virtual “Hablemos de calidad”.

 

Similitudes:

  1. Todos los proveedores de QSLA tienen acceso a los cursos de desarrollo profesional, talleres y comunidades de aprendizaje de QSLA
  2. Todos los proveedores de QSLA tendrán acceso a los recursos digitales, al contenido del sitio web, etc.
  3. Todos los proveedores de QSLA desarrollarán un plan de mejora de calidad personalizado o Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) al cual se le dará seguimiento anualmente, con el fin de proveer apoyo y orientación para alcanzar esas metas.

P. ¿Serán los incentivos de este nuevo modelo de QSLA basados en una calificación?

R. No. La cantidad de incentivos en este modelo será la misma para todos los proveedores, y estará basada en la disponibilidad de fondos al momento de la inscripción.

P. ¿Cuánto tiempo tomará llenar la solicitud?

R. La solicitud debe tomar solamente unos 15 minutos y puede hacerse en partes. Si usted necesita detenerse al completar la solicitud, puede guardarla y comenzar otra vez cuando sea más conveniente.

P. ¿Qué debo hacer si tengo preguntas sobre el llenado de la solicitud?

R.  Las instrucciones para llenar la solicitud están disponibles aquí: Centro de aprendizaje temprano (inglés), Hogar de cuidado infantil familiar (español) (inglés)

P. ¿Existe una manera de verificar el estado de mi solicitud, o de actualizar mis datos u otra información después de haberla completado?

R.  Asegúrese de guardar su nombre de usuario y contraseña después de registrarse, los necesitará para verificar el estado de su solicitud y/o actualizar sus datos en este enlace: QSLA Solicitud

P. ¿Qué pasa después de enviar mi solicitud? ¿Cuáles son los siguientes pasos para mi inscripción?

R.  Una vez que su solicitud sea completada, usted recibirá una notificación de que ha sido agregado(a) a una lista de espera (por favor revise su carpeta SPAM, si no recibe tal notificación en la carpeta principal o bandeja de entrada de su correo electrónico). Si usted es elegido, será contactado para su inscripción en una fecha posterior.

Quality Start Los Ángeles (QSLA) es un sistema a lo largo y ancho del condado de Los Ángeles, el cual está asociado con proveedores de aprendizaje temprano para incrementar y mejorar la calidad del cuidado infantil que proveen desde el nacimiento hasta los cinco años, asegurando que los niños sean criados en un ambiente de calidad, listos para la escuela y preparados para la vida.


Fundamental Early Learning Programs



Interested in taking your program to the next level?
Join Quality Start LA Today!

Are you a family child care home or non-CSPP funded, center-based provider? Quality Start Los Angeles is enrolling NOW!

Enroll today!

NOTE: If you have already submitted an application, you are currently on the waitlist. Please do not submit a new application.

Quality Start Los Angeles (QSLA) has made a commitment to ensure equity across the LA County early learning system. As a result, QSLA has analyzed available data to identify high priority communities in Los Angeles County where QSLA will focus its enrollment efforts. QSLA’s goal is to ensure that its resources and services are focused on the early learning programs and communities that have traditionally received an uneven distribution of, or limited access to, programmatic supports and services.

Although providers in communities not identified as highest priority will have the potential to enroll in QSLA, we are offering priority access to providers in the designated areas first. Remaining slots will be offered to applicants based on the other identified enrollment criteria. To learn more about the criteria we use for enrolling new sites to QSLA, click here*.

Click here for PDF of statement

 One-on-one support from a highly trained program coach. Together, you will develop a customized Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) which maps out your goals for the year, with built-in accountability to help you achieve these goals!

  • Unlimited access to cutting-edge professional development opportunities–offered in both English and Spanish!
  • Training and technical assistance (T&TA) tailored to your program’s specific areas of interest.
  • Access to QSLA’s self-paced training series, which includes topics such as:
    • Developmental Screenings
    • Professional Development
    • Effective Teacher-Child Interactions
    • Program Environment
    • Program Leadership
    • Family Engagement
    • Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
    • Mindfulness and Self-care
  • Peer-to-peer learning opportunities, so you can learn alongside and share successes and solutions with fellow early learning providers.
  • Financial incentives, ($600/site, annually), based on grant funding availability
  • A self-assessment to guide the services you’ll receive from QSLA. No formal assessment required. 

Click the images below to download the PDF version of these flyers! 

                                       

Q.  Can I apply for this QSLA program if my site is already participating in QSLA?

A.  No, this opportunity is exclusively for early learning programs who are not currently enrolled in QSLA.  

Q.  What types of providers can qualify for QSLA?

A.  Any licensed Family Child Care Home or non-state funded center (no CSPP funding) can apply for QSLA.  You must be licensed and in good standing for 6 months before applying to participate in QSLA.  Whether you’ve been in the early learning field for 6 months or 20 years, QSLA is for you!

Q.  Can I enroll in this new QSLA Quality Improvement model if I was previously in QSLA but withdrew or am no longer participating for other reasons?

A. Yes, you can re-enroll for QSLA if you are still a non-CSPP funded center or Family Child Care home that has been licensed and have been in good-standing for at least 6 months.

Q.  Is this the same QSLA model that requires an assessment from UCLA?

A. No, this new quality improvement model does not include an external observation and does not give a quality rating. All FCCs and non-CSPP funded providers newly enrolled in QSLA will participate in this new model.

Q.  I have friends whose sites are participating in QSLA; how is this QSLA model different from theirs?

A.  There are a few ways that this model is similar to and different from the model for CSPP-funded sites or for those FCCs or private centers already participating in QSLA:

Differences:

      1.  There is no formal assessment in this QSLA model that includes CLASS or Environment Rating Scale (ERS) assessments or other documentation submissions. Providers participating in this model will only complete a self-assessment.

     2.  This model is focused on the needs of your site and may not necessarily focus on the Quality Counts California Rating Matrix elements. 

     3.  Providers participating in this model will have access to our new “Let’s Talk Quality” virtual learning series.  

 Similarities:

    1.  All QSLA providers have access to all QSLA professional development trainings, workshops, and learning communities.

    2.  All QSLA providers will have access to QSLA’s digital resources, website content, etc. 

    3.  All QSLA providers will develop a customized Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) and receive a follow-up check-in each year to provide support and guidance on achieving those goals. 

   4. All QSLA providers will be supported with creating a profile on the California ECE Workforce Registry to help with attending and keeping track of all professional development trainings.  

Q. Will the incentives for this new QSLA model be based on a rating?

A. No, the incentive amount for all providers in this model will be the same and based on availability of funding at the time of enrollment. 

Q.  How long should the application take to complete?

A.  The application should take only about 15 minutes and can be done in parts.  If you need to stop working on the application, you can save and start again when it is more convenient. 

Q.  What do I do if I have questions about how to complete the application?

A.  Application instructions are available here: Center-Based Program (English), Family Child Care Home (Spanish) (English)

Q.  Is there a way to check the status of my application or update contact or other information after I’ve completed it?

A.  Be sure to save your username and password after registering – you will need this to check the status of your application and/or update contact information at this link: QSLA Application

Q.  What happens after I submit my application? What are next steps for my enrollment?

A.  Once your application is complete, you will receive a notification that you have been placed on a waitlist. (Please check your spam folder, if you do not receive this notification in your main e-mail folder) If selected, you will be contacted about your enrollment at a later date. 

 If your program is not chosen, you will also receive an e-mail notifying you that your site has not been selected but will remain on the waitlist for the next enrollment period. 

Quality Start Los Angeles (QSLA) is Los Angeles’ county-wide system that partners with early learning providers to build upon and improve the quality of care they provide to children birth to five, ensuring children are nurtured in a high quality environment, ready for school, and prepared for life. 


Creating Welcoming Environments for Families

August 12, 2020 3:18PM

Lee esta artículo en español

I love to go shopping.  Not only do I enjoy the satisfaction of finding exactly what I am looking for, but I also value the shopping experience.  Part of that experience is the environment that stores create for myself, the shopper. 

The families in your programs are like shoppers.  Not only are families looking for a high-quality program with staff that care for and teach their children, but they are also looking for a program environment that is clean, safe, and inviting.  Before families learn about the details of your program, they look to your environment to gather basic information.  Therefore, the environment that you create, both indoors and outdoors, should be a reflection of who you and what you value as a professional.    

This month, we will be discussing the importance of creating a welcoming environment for the families that you serve.  Although families might not currently be entering your program regularly, the parts of your environment that they do interact with (such as your outside space, your sign-in table, and your waiting area outside or in the front of your house) can serve as opportunities to engage and communicate with your families. 

Why are Welcoming Environments Important?

Now more than ever, your early learning environment plays an important role in your daily operations.  Consider the following:

Your environment is a family’s first interaction with your program.

  • Your learning environment is a reflection of you, what you value, how you teach, and the energy that you infuse into your work with young children. Every day, whether you realize it or not, families are making observations of the space that you have created for their child.  They are looking to see how clean it is, how safe it is, how inviting it is, and what materials are available for their child to play with and learn from. 

Your environment serves as a means of communication.

  • Because face-to-face interactions are currently limited, using your environment creatively provides the opportunity for you to continue to communicate with your families directly and consistently. Using your outside space to share reminders, resources, and other pieces of relevant information can support your social distancing efforts while continuing to engage with families and show them a glimpse of what is happening inside.

Your environment is an indicator of an equitable, inclusive program.

  • Your early learning environment should be a reflection of the children in your program. The pictures, wall art, toys, and books in your program should represent the demographics of the children and families that you currently serve.  When your environment mirrors the families currently enrolled in your program, it demonstrates your commitment to creating an equitable and inclusive program that is responsive to the families in your care.    

Aspects of a Welcoming Environment

There are three specific aspects of a welcoming environment that programs should consider when working to engage families:

  • A welcoming physical environment
  • Positive interactions between the staff at your program and the families that you serve
  • Ways to welcome new families into your program.

This month, we will be focusing on strategies for creating welcoming physical environments, both in-person and virtually.  In the upcoming months, we will explore the other two facets of creating welcoming environments. 

Strategies for Creating Welcoming Environments:

As you create welcoming virtual spaces for families, consider the following:

The use of virtual backgrounds

Using virtual backgrounds takes the pressure off of having to show others a very personal part of your life, your home.  When you meet with families virtually, let them know that they are welcome to use a virtual background and provide instructions to do so if they choose.  Virtual backgrounds:

  • Allow families to be present without worrying what is going on behind them
  • Minimize the worry of having to clean up or keep others out of their video frame
  • Serve as a way of starting conversations, wherein families share with you why they chose that background

A provider at Gonzales Family Daycare shares a video with a child in her program. Adding a colorful visual to an interaction also helps create a welcoming virtual environment.

The name that you display on your screen

The names that people share at the bottom of their video serve as a way of learning who one another is and how they would like to be referred to by others. When displaying your name:

  • Using your first name, rather than your formal title, sets a relaxed tone and can help families feel more comfortable engaging virtually
  • For new families, you might want to suggest that they include the name of their child in parentheses next to their name, so you can start to connect the families and their children.
  • Encourage everyone to add their preferred pronouns after their name

To learn more about pronouns, click here

Establishing norms from the beginning

Norms, or group agreements, help create a supportive and respectful virtual environment.  When creating norms:

  • Have the families think about what behaviors and attitudes help them feel comfortable enough to engage with the group
  • Consider what you can do as a facilitator to support a respectful and supportive environment (for example: muting everyone upon entry, showing people how to use the chat feature, asking participants to mute themselves if they are not speaking)
  • Write these behaviors, attitudes, and other considerations down and share them with the group (or the individual family) every time you meet virtually
  • Revisit them regularly to make sure that are working and continue to support participation and high levels of comfort

To learn more about establishing norms for meeting with families and with staff, read Has Your Remote Team Defined Ground Rules Yet? Here’s How (Forbes Magazine)

As you create welcoming physical spaces for families that adhere to current social distancing guidelines, consider the following:

Move your information board outside.

  • Bringing your parent board(s) and other materials for families outside supports ongoing communication with families while still respecting the need to be socially distant.
  • Your information boards can serve as a space to provide program updates, community or program resources, and other information that is important to families.
  • Moving your board outside will also send the message to families that you want to keep the lines of communication open and that you are doing everything in your power to stay safe and support families simultaneously.

Wear a picture badge (and have all of your staff wear one too).

  • A big part of interacting with families every day is smiling and providing reassurance through facial expressions. Unfortunately, the current health and safety requirements of wearing masks and shields does not always allow for that.  Wearing a picture of yourself with your name on it can serve to bridge that gap.
  • If you have new families in your program, or returning families that have not seen you in months, having a smiling picture of yourself as a badge will help families remember who you are, what your smile looks like, and support families’ feelings of comfort during these unexpected times. 

Post plenty of clear signage

  • Posting plenty of colorful, informational signs will help families follow the health and safety policies and procedures that you have set in place. As always, make sure any signage uses strengths-based language. Signs can help families:
    • Know what to bring (and what not to bring) with them for the day
    • Locate the place to wash hands or leave children’s belongings
    • Know where to stand if dropping off or picking up
    • Learn the schedule for their children during the day
    • Better understand how you keep children safe and socially distanced during the days
    • Know how to connect with you if they have a question, need to talk, or have an update to share
    • Know how much you appreciate their support in adhering to the policies and procedures set forth

At Gonzales Family Daycare, families are greeted with clear signs and social distancing markers. This provider has also moved her family information board outside where families will be able to see it.

Move some of the children’s projects outside

  • Since families are no longer allowed to come into the program, it limits their ability to see what their child is working on each day and have conversations with their children about their work when they are at home.
  • Posting children’s work personalizes your outdoor environment, while adding color and creativity to that part of your program. Consider the following:
    • Create spaces outside where you can post some of the artwork done by the kids and invite families to visit those areas as they wait in the mornings or afternoons.
    • Decorate any drop-off and pick-up areas with artwork and other daily projects.
    • Attach pictures of individual children throughout the day to the sign-in sheets for families to view and take home if they choose.

Taking the time to create welcoming virtual and in-person environments will only serve to strengthen the relationships that you have with the families in your program.  These unprecedented times call for thinking outside of the box and creating new ways of connecting with families.  Although these times of social distancing are not forever, being intentional with creating welcoming environments is something that will always be of importance. 

Watch the Lunch & Learn Webinar on this Family Engagement Tip!

Creating Welcoming Environments for Families

August 20, 2020

This Lunch & Learn webinar will explore the importance of intentionally creating welcoming environments as a component of family engagement, even during this time of social distancing.

Wendolly A. Escobar, Ed.D.

Family Education Coordinator, Quality Start Los Angeles

Wendolly’s professional career began over 10 years ago as a lead teacher for a classroom of energetic preschoolers. In her current role, Wendolly is proud to support Quality Start Los Angeles by being an advocate for building authentic and supportive relationships with families of young children. She believes that by creating family-focused systems, early learning programs have the capacity to uplift and empower families and ensure the best outcomes for LA’s youngest learners.


Preparing to Engage Families in the Era of COVID-19

July 17, 2020 2:37PM

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Traditionally, relationships with families have been built through consistent face-to-face interactions.  The more you saw the family and spent time engaging with them in both formal and informal conversations, the more you learned about the child and the stronger the relationship with the family was.  This upcoming school year, however, the way program staff builds relationships with families will look very different.  With social distancing measures still in place for the foreseeable future, early learning programs will be challenged to develop creative ways to stay connected with families. 

This month, we will be exploring strategies for navigating new ways to build relationships with families.  Although face-to-face interactions will be extremely limited for the time being, you can still develop strong relationships with families that are critical to the success and well-being of the children in your care.        

“Discuss [the families’] concerns as well as the plans you have put in place for the children’s safety.  They may have valuable input that will make your program run smoothly.”

Judith Terrell, Terrell Family Child Care Owner

How will family engagement change in the upcoming school year?

The start of a new school year typically provides programs the opportunity to connect with and learn from the families.  This year, however, orientations, school tours, and parent meetings will look very different.  Some changes that families may notice are:

  • Families will no longer be able to come into your center to drop off or pick up their children.
  • Families will be encouraged to participate in curbside drop off and pickup, wherein a staff member will receive the child and do the necessary health and wellness checks before walking them into the classroom.
  • Children might be limited as to what they can bring into the classroom with them.
  • Communication will continue to be digital as that is the safest way to distribute information to large groups of families.
  • Administrative staff might be working remotely.

Why take the time when there are so many regulations to follow?

Although the way we interact with families will change, family engagement remains an important component of early learning programs. 

Family engagement is a key component of quality

Research indicates that one of the core components of a high quality educational program is building and maintaining strong relationships with families.  No matter the circumstances, families should always inform your plans and communications.  Now, more than ever, families will need increased engagement opportunities to support social connections, ensure that their concerns about their children’s safety, and their own, are being addressed and met.

Family engagement is an issue of equity

Family engagement is not a one-size-fits-all practice.  High quality family engagement practices allow you to get to know each family more personally so that you can create spaces for them to learn, share, and connect in ways that best serve their unique needs and interests.  When done authentically, the end result is a learning environment that promotes cultural sensitivity and inclusion, provides families increased access to information, and supports developing a deeper understanding of the families that you serve.

Planning for the year ahead

With the beginning of another school year around the corner, it is important to plan and prepare while keeping the families you serve in mind.  Here are a few strategies, supported by feedback from QSLA providers, on what to consider as you begin your preparations:  

Demonstrate empathy and understanding as you begin planning to re-engage families

These past few months have been challenging for many families.  Keep in mind:

  • Reintroducing their children to a social environment, such as an early learning program, can be cause for concern, particularly if the family has no other options for keeping their children at home.
  • Many families are confused and unsure as to whether their children will be safe throughout the day.

“Families are having a difficult time, where things are very unstable, and where every day they must adapt to the increasing changes they are facing. Programs need to be flexible with families. Some families have work. Some do not, which means that some families do not have enough funds for the program co-pays. Sometimes, they do not have enough money for gas, or to fix their car when it breaks down, which undoubtedly affects their participation.”

Janet Linares, Family Child Care Owner

They will have many questions regarding the use of masks and what social distancing looks like in an early learning classroom.

Allow the families to inform your plans

This summer provides a great opportunity to learn more about the families that you serve so that you can use that knowledge in intentional and thoughtful ways.  Consider the following:

  • When it comes to sharing information, every family has a unique preference based on their access to the internet, personal feelings and experiences, ability to learning new digital skills, and level of comfort with technology.
  • As face-to-face interactions are limited, it is important to learn more about how each family prefers to communicate with you. Consistent communication is important to building strong relationships.  Taking the time to ask families how they prefer to connect individually with you will support the development of healthy, reciprocal relationships. 
  • During enrollment and/or orientation, add digital communications to your list of things to review and learn more about during the enrollment and orientation process.
  • Ask families, through a survey or over the phone, about the digital platforms that you currently use, including their comfort with those platforms. This feedback can inform how you use technology to better engage families.

Remember, every family’s situation is different.  Be sure to gather information in different ways to ensure that a diverse set of voices are represented.  Listening to the families you serve and finding ways to meet their needs, that are equitable and cost-effective, will be essential to keeping families engaged.

Communication is of utmost importance

Clear, direct, and open communication during this time of uncertainty will serve to quell anxieties as well as build trust with the families in your program.  As you begin reconnecting with families:

  • Provide information regarding new health, safety, and communication policies verbally and in writing for clarity and consistency.
    • Have written information for distribution to supplement conversations that you have with families about these new procedures.
    • Create a space for families to ask you questions about the written information that you send out in advance regarding these new health, safety, and communication procedures.   
  • Ensure all staff are trained on the new policies and procedures so that they can answer questions about them using consistent language.
  • Check in with your families individually to ensure that the plans you have put in place for on-going communications meet their needs.
    • Be flexible with your communication plans as families adapt to the new systems and provide feedback through the process.
  • Encourage families to engage with you across communication platforms by sharing at-home learning activities for families to do together, as well as other resources for support (i.e. rental assistance, food banks, etc.). Families will appreciate regular communication and will be more likely to respond positively. 

 

Remember that, when it comes to navigating uncharted waters, less is more.  Be patient as families adjust to these new norms.  Be empathetic to the many changes they are experiencing, both in your program an at home.  The time that you invest in planning have a big impact on how effectively your program runs for the rest of the year and how capable you are of tackling any challenges that may come your way. 

*  *  *  *

A special thank you to the following QSLA providers for their input and feedback based on their experiences with families during this time:

  • Judith Terrell, FCC owner
  • Janet Linares, FCC owner

Watch the Lunch & Learn Webinar on this Family Engagement Tip!

Preparing to Engage Families in the Age of Covid-19

July 21, 2020

This Lunch & Learn webinar will explore how to engage with families during this time of continued social distancing.

Wendolly A. Escobar, Ed.D.

Family Education Coordinator, Quality Start Los Angeles

Wendolly’s professional career began over 10 years ago as a lead teacher for a classroom of energetic preschoolers. In her current role, Wendolly is proud to support Quality Start Los Angeles by being an advocate for building authentic and supportive relationships with families of young children. She believes that by creating family-focused systems, early learning programs have the capacity to uplift and empower families and ensure the best outcomes for LA’s youngest learners.


Tips for Attending Our Webinars

Tips for Attending Our Webinars

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Follow these tips to ensure you have a successful webinar and receive Professional Development credit!

1. Register on the ECE Registry

If this is your first time registering for a training on the ECE Registry, please read these instructions.

2. Add QualityStartLosAngeles@gmail.com to your safe senders list

This will ensure that critical updates about your training will make it to your inbox. Here are some instructions on how to do that for various email services.

3. Make sure you can access the email associated with your ECE Registry Account

We will use this email to send you the Zoom registration link for the webinar.  If you would like it sent to a different e-mail, please e-mail Carter Vitacco at Carter.Vitacco@ccala.net when you register on the ECE Registry with the specific e-mail you would prefer to use.

4. Register through Zoom

Three business days before the webinar, you should receive an email from QualityStartLosAngeles@gmail.com with a link to register for the webinar on Zoom. In order to receive the Zoom link to join the webinar, you must first register by providing your name and an email address.  Registering on Zoom ensures that we will be able to identify you at the webinar and give you PD credit for attending. If you have not received the email by the day before the webinar, do the following:

Check your spam/junk folder

Email spam is unwanted junk mail for your inbox. Most email services automatically filter out spam emails into a folder known as the spam folder or junk folder, but sometimes, important emails like ours can end up in the spam folder by mistake. Here’s how to check your junk mail in Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo!, and AOL mail. NOTE: if you have an @hotmail.com email address, follow the instructions for Outlook.

If you still cannot find the email, reach out to Carter Vitacco (Carter.Vitacco@ccala.net)

Please note that if you reach out to us on the same day as the training, there is a chance we might not be able to help in time for you to access the webinar.

5. Log on TEN MINUTES EARLY

We will keep the webinar open for ten minutes after the indicated start time. If you attempt to log on more than 10 minutes late, you will not be let in.

6. Check that your audio and camera are working

If you run into any issues, you can check this troubleshooting guide from Zoom.

7. Enjoy the webinar!

Sharing your video is encouraged, but not required. Backgrounds are always welcome.


Hosting Virtual Events for Families

June 3, 2020 2:25pm

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As we close out an uncharted program year, there is a lot of uncertainty about what the upcoming year will bring.  This month, we will be exploring best practices for hosting virtual events for the families in your program. As families continue to navigate through the different challenges brought on by this pandemic, we want to continue to offer opportunities to connect socially, receive information and resources, and build their capacity to support their children’s growth and development.   With a number of new guidelines to follow that continue to limit the ways in which we interact with families and gather in groups, it is important to begin developing our capacities to engage with families in diverse way that support connection and respect the rules of social distancing. 

Types of Virtual Events

How tos or tutorials to teach a specific skill and provide strategies for families

Trainings & Webinars to provide content to groups

Behind-the-Scenes tours provide virtual tours to new families that are interested in your program

Interviews tap into the internal knowledge of your staff, or connect with a community partner to share their knowledge with families

Conferences have one-on-one conversations with families

Group Socializations for families to come together with their children and engage in interactive experiences together

What is a Virtual Event?

Virtual events are any on-line activities (via Zoom, Google Hangouts, Class Dojo, or other on-line platform) that provide early learning programs with the opportunity to have conversations, share images and information, and share information with families in an interactive way.  These events can be live or e pre-recorded and distributed digitally for viewing at a family’s convenience.  There are many types of virtual events, all of which have different end goals.  These events are held when being in the same physical space is not an option and provide families with alternative method engaging during program events when their schedule does not allow them to attend personally. 

Why Virtual Events

In addition to their immediate importance due to current social distancing guidelines, virtual events can be used to support family engagement efforts year round.  Engagement events offered virtually serve to:

  • Promote equity
    • Live conferences, meetings, and other events held virtually allow families the flexibility to join from their own home and at a time that best fits into their varying schedules and supports those who may have limited access to transportation
    • Events that are recorded and later distributed to families (either via e-mail, social media, or posted on the program’s website) allow families to view the event at a time that is most convenient for them, providing them with the same opportunity to obtain the information provided to those who were able to attend in-person or live on-line.
  • Stretch a limited budget
    • Hosting virtual events can support programs with limited budgets, as many of the considerations that are a part of in-person trainings are not factors to consider for virtual events, such as printing handouts, paying staff overtime to provide care for kids, and snacks.
    • Combining virtual events with in-person offerings, post COVID-19, can support ECE programs in stretching the available budget for family engagement opportunities.   
  • Continue the work of family engagement when distance is a factor
    • This current situation has demonstrated the value of keeping in contact when distance is necessary. Even when life returns to normal, there will be situations that arise that will cause extended absences for families (such as illness, death in the family, etc.).  Through virtual meetings and/or events, ECE providers can continue to serve as a source of support and resources for children and families even when far apart.

How are QSLA Programs going virtual?

As you begin to think about planning your own virtual events, here are some ways that early learning programs are currently hosting virtual events for the families in their programs.

Sandra Flores, Director of Alma Family Services

Checking in With Families and Using Parent Cafes to Stay Focused

“In April, I spoke to all 48 families [in my program].  We discussed income and food insecurity, stimulus checks, emotions and feelings.  After [their] feedback, I decided to conduct a parent cafe.  I conducted my first Zoom virtual parent cafe [at the beginning of May].  It wasn’t mandatory.  [Out of] 48 families, I had 28 families join in [during] different times. I broke it down to into 2 sessions for Spanish-speaking parents (AM/PM) and then two sessions for English-speaking parents (AM/PM) on the same day. 

[Before the parent café], I used the Remind app with the families.  I posted the flyer in Remind and in our monthly calendar.  [During] the parent café, we spoke about anything they wanted to as it had been a while since we met as adults.  I have learned that it is important to be open to hearing from [the families] while acknowledging, validating, motivating and turn-taking.  Those are a must for these events to be successful.  I also used humor and reflection with [the families].  Reflection was integrated by the use of asking them, ‘How much have you learned since we started the school year?’  The parents were able to see the positivity of the year versus focusing on Covid-19.”

Elements of a Virtual Event

Outreach

How will we communicate about this event to families?

Registration:

Will families have to register? How will they do that?

Audio/Video

How will you ensure that the audio of the meeting is clear? Will attendees be asked to turn on their cameras? Will you have your camera on? What background will you use?

Presentation Content

  • Recording the content:  Are we going to record the content? Does our platform allow for recording? Do we need to notify those on the virtual event that we’ll be recording? Where will we store the recording? (on program website, etc.)
  • Practice: When are we going to practice the content before the event? Who will be presenting?
  • Interactive opportunities: How will we get people to participate? (Examples include: Question & Answer sessions, Live Polling, and using the chat box)

Feedback and evaluation surveys

How will you evaluate your virtual event (i.e. online survey, mailed survey etc.)

Mirabelle Guevarra, Owner of Tita Mira Family Day Care

Hosting Daily Zoom Meetings and Supporting Families

“We have Zoom meetings daily Monday to Friday for 45 minutes each meet up.  I also have the afternoon open from 1pm to 5:30pm.  We created this time because some parents are not available during the morning and sometimes some of the children want to say hi or see what I am doing.  It’s like a little chat, like a family member or a friend calling.  These chats happen via personal cellphone, Viber, or Google Duo

You may ask why [do I provide] a lot of ways to reach me.  We are trying to meet each parent’s request.  Before starting the virtual meet ups, we asked the approval of each parent because we are entering their personal space and time.  We have to consider their availability and the internet access of each family. 

We have an app, ClassDojo, where all parents are logged on since Day 1 in our daycare community.  On this app, parents receive updates and pictures of the child’s day to day activities and nutrition.  Each parent is used to checking the app on a daily basis.  Having this app, we are able to prepare families daily as to what to expect during the Zoom meeting.  We post daily what will be discussed so the parent and the child can prepare, especially during show and tell.  They love showing what they have or what they have found. 

During the first week of Zoom meetings, parents were frustrated asking the child to go on the screen.  We discussed (privately) that it is okay for them to run around because we know that they are listening.  Why and how?  When they hear something that interests them, they will approach the screen and tell you what they feel like and show you what they are doing.  This is also a time for the parents to convene and share daily experiences not only with me but with other parents.  We also try to accommodate all of them by simply mentioning their names and asking them from time to time what they are doing or what they think we will do on our next meet up. 

The success of the Zoom meets vary from household to household.  Expect less and it will be successful.  Do not assume 100% participation on a daily basis because it happens at the least expected time.  Most importantly, we have to be ready with all our tools as a teacher and a friend.”

Stacey Smith-Clark, Director of LBCC Child Development Center

Using Virtual Meet Ups and Learning Some Lessons Along the Way

“Our site has 5 classrooms and each classroom has 1-2 live virtual meet ups per week, which include circle time, class meetings, read aloud, sing-a-longs, flannel board stories, cooking demos, science experiments, etc. These are held via Facebook Live and via Zoom. These are recorded and posted in private Facebook Groups that we created for children to rewatch and/or watch later, according to when it best fits their schedule. There are also 3-4 evening group times held each week, as we quickly realized that some families cannot connect during the days, as parents/caregivers may be essential workers, working remotely and/or homeschooling older children. The evening meet ups are very well attended.

“All of us are figuring this out for the first time and there is no book on teaching preschool during a pandemic (but we can maybe write one once this is over!) Do your best.”​

Approximately every other week we host an “all center” special event with a guest reader, a family picnic or a dance party. The Center Manager hosts an evening parent meet up weekly from 8-9 PM, which is after bedtime so that parents/caregivers can ask questions and connect w/ other adults. We also started a YouTube channel, posting video content that we created so families can view them when it best suits their schedule. (Search LBCC PCC if you want to check it out). 

There are some weeks when it feels like it’s too much, but we keep in mind that there is no one size fits all. Our goal is connection and we know that what works for one family may not work for another. We have at least 1 live meet up happening daily and all are listed on a calendar for children and families to follow along and choose what works best for their schedule.

Initially, we dove in head first and quickly learned how to set up private Facebook groups, do live videos via social media, master Zoom, develop a Google Classroom, etc. In hindsight, we wish we had surveyed families before jumping in to see what they wanted, but there was no time and we were all in a bit of a panic.  (We closed on 3/16 and had remote content up and running by 3/18. The team of educators I work with is phenomenal!)  We already had the apps for Learning Genie and ReadyRosie up and running and accessible to all families, but have relied on and promoted them more as an additional resource for families and connection. 

The Center Manager sends out a weekly email with information and resources, along with a Center calendar that lists virtual events that are happening and how to access. We keep a log of who has participated and if we have not seen a child/family for a week, we call them on the phone to connect and gather information on how we can best support them.  We have some families with no WiFi at home and/or limited data plans and have sent letters, cards and some materials shipped directly to their home. 

The biggest best practice is to meet families where they are. It is unrealistic to assume that 10 AM on a Tuesday works for them, because it works best for you. Be flexible, be available and continue to reassess the situation and ASK what works for them and adjust accordingly. We have modified times, days, etc. based on feedback from children and families.

We have also had to STRESS to families what remote participation actually looks like and assure them that their child sitting with a blanket over their face, laying under the table, with their back to the camera are all normal and typical behaviors. It is unrealistic to expect children to sit quietly facing the screen and we have assured them that at no time EVER are all children in a classroom sitting and facing the teacher during a group time. We have also stressed that all of this is optional and if they want to take a day off, a week off, etc., that’s fine. They should follow their child’s lead and support them the best they can. Holding the evening parent/family meet up has been helpful to connect them to one another and they can hear that many children are doing this, not just theirs.”

Strategies for Success

Based on these experiences, here are three key strategies to keep in mind as you begin brainstorming and planning a virtual event for your families:

  • Do your research
    • A key element to success is taking the time to ask your families what they would like to see/learn from the virtual events that you will be hosting and in what format.
    • You can send out a survey, call your families and ask them personally, or reach out to some of the parent leaders that serve on your Parent Advisory Council. Ask the families in your program what content most interests them, when they would be available to attend, and what platform they would most prefer to use. 
    • While you might not be able to meet every family’s needs through one event, you will be able to create a plan that you know aligns with the needs, interests, and specific desires of the families you serve.
  • Leverage your existing resources
    • As we have mentioned previously, virtual events should be an extension of what you already do. Consider the resources that you already have available to you as you begin planning any virtual events. 
    • Think about the curriculum you use, the books you already have, the content that you have already taught the kids in your program, and the supplemental materials that you might already have or have access to. Also, consider the different platforms (i.e. websites, Zoom, social media, etc.) that you already use in your program. 
    • Remember that it takes longer to create something from scratch then it does to create an extension to resources that already exist.
  • Be Flexible
    • Hosting virtual events is very new to many programs, children, and families. Remember to be flexible as you are starting off. Things might not go as planned the first couple of times around. 
    • The children might not be interested in being on camera. The families might get frustrated because their kids won’t sit still and “learn”.  Your internet or device might not be cooperating that day.  That is all okay.  Those opportunities serve as learning experiences and lessons learned for future virtual events.

Watch the Lunch & Learn Webinar on this Family Engagement Tip!

Hosting Virtual Events for Families

June 23, 2020

This webinar will focus on supporting early learning programs in hosting virtual events for their families.

Wendolly A. Escobar, Ed.D.

Family Education Coordinator, Quality Start Los Angeles

Wendolly’s professional career began over 10 years ago as a lead teacher for a classroom of energetic preschoolers. In her current role, Wendolly is proud to support Quality Start Los Angeles by being an advocate for building authentic and supportive relationships with families of young children. She believes that by creating family-focused systems, early learning programs have the capacity to uplift and empower families and ensure the best outcomes for LA’s youngest learners.