Updated September 17, 2013
Parents are the first and most important teachers of their children. Research shows that children whose families are involved in the education of their children are more successful in school and in life. When caregivers, teachers, medical providers, therapists and other service providers develop trusting and collaborative relationships with families, children benefit. This is especially true for children with disabilities. Mutually respectful partnerships between families and professionals help to ensure that children receive the services and supports they need to support their education and development. Building partnerships should start when a baby is born and continue as a child begins their journey in a child care setting, and throughout their school-age years. Developing healthy and strong family and community relationships is a vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to positive child outcomes.
The MAP… Making Access Possible Project team has identified the following websites and resources that support family engagement and promote partnerships with families.
In 2009 the National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group developed a comprehensive definition of family engagement that acknowledges the importance of families in student success and the need for collaboration between families and all organizations and agencies that are involved with children from birth through high school:
Family engagement is:
- A shared responsibility in which schools and other community agencies and organizations are committed to engaging families in meaningful and culturally respectful ways, and families are committed to actively supporting their children's learning and development.
- Continuous across a child's life, spanning from Early Head Start programs to college preparation high schools.
- Carried out everywhere that children learn – at home, in pre-kindergarten programs, in school, in after-school programs, in faith-based institutions, and in community programs and activities.
The Office of Head Start National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement (NCPFC) released the Parent, Family and Community Engagement Framework in September of 2011. The framework, downloadable and available in both English and Spanish, is a "road map" to family and community engagement across systems and service areas. Along with the framework are a variety of short videos (links) discussing this framework and family engagement through the eyes of the national director of Head Start, teachers, and parents. The framework and short videos focus on the development of family engagement partnerships and is a comprehensive guide into incorporating research-based methods in developing relationships among families, communities, and providers which will aid in the development of a healthy and balanced child who is ready for school success.
To further promote the use of the framework, in January of 2012 the NCPFC introduced a guide for use of the Parent, Family and Community Engagement Framework, specifically focused on helping programs to identify "markers of progress," and using the recently developed "self assessment tool".
- Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Simulation
The PFCE Online Simulation takes you to a virtual Head Start Center where you assume the role of a Head Start staff member meeting a mother and her child during an intake visit to introduce the family to the program. In the role play, you will practice four every day and engaging relationship-building strategies with emotionally responsive avatars.
This site provides resources and strategies to support family involvement in education. The link takes you directly to resources for Working Together: Building Improved Communication. It includes handbooks and video instruction in both English and Spanish.
The Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation has developed online training modules focusing on partnering with parents. These modules consist of pre-test, learning modules, post-test, and additional resources. Below is a sample of downloadable resources and for supporting a positive beginning to new relationships.
CONNECT Modules , developed by the Frank Porter Grahm Institute at the University of North Carolina, the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky and the Office of Special Education Programs, are online learning tutorials covering a wide array of subjects related to early childhood education and development specifically related to the inclusion of children with disabilities and special needs in preschool settings. They offer an innovative approach to solving real life problems with evidence-based practices. Module 3, Communication for Collaboration and Module 4, Family-Professional Partnerships, provide information and strategies helpful in strengthening family engagement. The modules offer a variety of learning modalities including videos, tip sheets and problem-solving activities.
Various ways are provided that will assist in building capacity for parents, families, and communities to fulfill the vision of the Secretary that every parent be a partner in learning and share in the responsibility of their child's education.
- Edutopia's 2011 Home-to-School Connections Guide
This guide highlights solutions for connecting home and school in order to improve student learning and success. Whether you're a teacher, parent, or district administrator, this guide provides you with relevant and valuable tools and resources for how best to strengthen the bonds between schools, families, and communities for student learning and success.
- Mobile Devices for Learning
This guide can help you better understand how mobile gadgets -- cell phones, tablets, and smartphones -- can engage students and change their learning environment.
- Video: Cultivating Parent Engagement
- Parent Engagement in Education Resource Round up
Expect More Arizona is a public-private partnership dedicated to making education the top priority in the state of Arizona. Expect more Arizona unites individuals and organizations that believe expectations must be much higher and sharing our commitment in making Arizona's commitment, birth through career, the best in the nation. The path to higher expectations and educational excellence requires great teachers, motivated students, engaged parents, committed leaders and supportive communities – all working together to increase student academic achievement and ultimately their readiness to succeed in college and career.
- Video: Familes Engaged in Education is the Leading Factor in Student Success
- Helping Your Child Succeed
Resources describing key academic milestones and what to do at each stage of a child's academic development.
The Harvard Family Research Project has helped stakeholders develop and evaluate strategies to promote the well being of children, youth, families, and their communities. They work primarily within three areas that support children's learning and development—early childhood education, out-of-school time programming, and family and community support in education. Underpinning all of their work is a commitment to evaluation for strategic decision making, learning, and accountability. Below are some useful publications and links to areas on the Harvard Family Research Project that are directly related to family engagement.
- Family Engagement in Early Childhood: A Resource Guide for Early Learning Challenge Grant Recipients
- National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement
- National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group: Recommendations for Federal Policy
- Valuing Families as Partners
- Ready for Success: Creating Collaborative and Thoughtful Transitions Into Kindergarten
- Family Engagement and Children with Disabilities: A Resource Guide for Educators and Parents
Engaging Diverse Families (EDF) is helping early childhood education programs effectively engage diverse families.In a year-long process, NAEYC investigated the family engagement practices of early childhood education programs. To take part, programs submitted a written application and program materials and participated in a phone interview; 15 finalists received an on-site visit by NAEYC staff. Through the evidence provide, d, NAYEC uncovered examples of exemplary program practices and learned how programs are successfully engaging the diverse populations they serve. The website identifies the 10 programs that demonstrated exemplary family engagement practices and describes the common practices of the 10 programs.
National PTA Family-School Partnerships Implementation Guide The benefits of family-school-community partnerships are many: higher teacher morale, more parent involvement, and greater student success are only a few. That is why PTA developed the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships Implementation Guide, a tool for empowering people to work together with an end goal of building family-school partnerships and student success.
The TA Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports has been established by the Office of Special Education Programs, US Department of Education to give schools capacity-building information and technical assistance for identifying, adapting, and sustaining effective school-wide disciplinary practices. This TA Center provides guidance and tools in developing positive relationships with families of school age children. Below is the link to the area on the website that provides rationale for parent involvement, research, best practices and tips for teachers (School, Family and Community Partnerships) and a link to another area of the site that includes a list of parent training resources and specifically a "Family Engagement Checklist."
Video: Bully Calls News Anchor Fat, News Anchor Destroys Him on Live TV
Message: We all need to be role models.
In addition to links to the podcast series, you'll find, "Caregiver Tips for Building Effective Relationships with Parents" on the same page under additional resources.