Monthly Family Engagement Tips

March 22nd, 2021, 12:15pm

Did you know: early math skills are one of the best predictors of children’s math and reading skills in late elementary school? Children with strong early math skills are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college based on Mattera and Morris’s 2017 study. Yet, many people, including ourselves and the families we serve, often have negative mindsets when it comes to math.  We frequently hear statements such as, “math is hard”, “young children must sit down to learn math”, “I had trouble with math when I was a kid, so I won’t be much help to my child.”

As early educators we can challenge these ideas by highlighting for families how early math is not just counting, but part of our everyday lives. Read More

February 23, 2021, 6:21pm

Did you know: Newborn babies have about 100 billion neurons? By the time they are 3 years old, babies have about 1,000 trillion connections between those neurons. The first three years of a child’s life are the most critical for speech and language development because this critical growth stage is when their brain is best able to absorb language.  

Research shows that reading, talking, and singing with children are the most important activities that families and early educators can do to support children’s early literacy skills. Read More

January 27, 2021, 12:54pm

As we start out this new year, we find ourselves worn out from the emotional toll that 2020 brought. A pandemic, financial challenges, social distancing, a difficult election, a racial reckoning – it was a hard year to say the least. As we all try to manage the highs and lows of this prolonged crisis and stress, we seek out ways to find balance and bring about any sense of peace and normalcy, for a few minutes or a few hours, amid the everyday stressors.  This is where mindfulness can help us and the families that we serve… Read More

December 15, 2020, 11:11am

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… Read More

August 12, 2020 3:18PM

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… Read More

July 17, 2020 2:37PM

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… Read More

June 3, 2020 2:25PM

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… Read More

May 13, 2020 11:58AM

Working with children and families means that, at any given time, at least one, usually more, are experiencing a crisis situation.  Whether families experience the unexpected loss of employment, a sudden sickness in the family, or have to shift into quarantine during an international pandemic, they are constantly needing to adapt to and navigate these life challengesRead More

April 10, 2020 8:13AM

The past month has put everyone’s tech skills to the test.  Within a matter of weeks, many of us have gone from seeing families at drop off and pick up daily to having minimal, if any, interactions with the families that we serve.  We have gone from planning in-person conferences, cafés, and other events, to trying to figure out how to best connect with families during this time of being socially distanced… Read More

March 3, 2020 11:32AM

A couple of years ago, I attended a 2-day Strengthening Families Training of Trainers Institute.  This training was designed to build an understanding of the 5 Protective Factors, as well as get us, as trainers, to develop a sense of understanding and empathy for the diverse lives of the families that we work with.  Through a variety of interactive activities, videos, and group discussions, we developed a deeper understanding of “what it means to be a parent” and how critical our role is in supporting the journey of parenthood for those we worked with… Read More

February 1, 2020

Last month, we discussed family engagement as an issue of equity and social justice.  Family engagement is not a practice of one-size-fits-all “Back to School” nights and literacy events. This month, we focus on understanding the importance of accessing the funds of knowledge that each family carries with them… Read More

January 2, 2020

The start of a new decade is the perfect time to reflect upon our regular work with families through a renewed equity lens.  Equity is a concept that is integral to the work of early learning professionals and programs.  Not only does equity impact the work that early learning professionals do daily with young children in the classroom, but it also plays a key role in the relationships that we build with families… Read More