Family Engagement: For Families

The steady support and presence of families in a child’s life are essential!

When families extend their presence into a child’s learning community, they actively support better outcomes for that child. Know that a family brings unique talents, customs, and vibrancy to a child care program that only that family can bring. Child care providers need families—their knowledge, their lived experiences, and their partnership—to best support their child.

Make A Family Engagement Plan

First things first: Make a plan! Getting ideas and goals on paper with the Engagement Plan for Families (PDF) helps clarify how one wants to partner with their child care provider to bolster their child’s growth and learning.

Need assistance creating an Engagement Plan for Families? Contact Trying Together at 412.421.3889 or info@tryingtogether.org.

Make the First Connection: The Beginning of a Partnership with A Child Care Provider

Engagement with a child care provider begins in the first moments! From the very beginning, families should let a provider know that they are ready to actively participate in the learning community and join forces with the provider to best support their unique and wonderful child.

Choose A Child Care Provider

Sharing About Family

Strengthen the Connection: Making Family Engagement an Ongoing Practice

Engagement in a child’s learning and growth is an ongoing practice! Stay engaged, stay connected, and continue to value engagement with the child care provider as an essential part of a child’s well-being.

Ideas

  • Know that a family is a unique asset to any child care program.
  • Share talents with the child’s classroom.
  • Visit the child care program to speak about community helpers and position in the community.
  • Attend program events or celebrations—virtual or in person.
  • Read a book or share a family story in the child’s classroom.
  • Attend conferences. If the conference time does not work, request another meeting time.
  • Participate in the virtual platform that the provider uses to communicate—and ask for help if having difficulty accessing it.
  • Share the home language.
  • Offer to volunteer if possible.
  • Collaborate on planning program events.
  • Sit on a parent advisory committee to support the child and their child care program.
  • Ask the provider about the child’s day.
  • Share any concerns or successes in the child’s development.
  • Share about important family events with the child care provider.
  • Get involved in advocacy efforts to support early childhood education.
  • Register to vote and vote for candidates who support essential early childhood programs.

Resources

Prepare for Transition

A family’s presence during transitions makes a world of difference!

Transition could mean when a child moves to a new classroom or to a new educator, when a child moves on to a different school, or when they transition to Kindergarten. Transition could also mean when a new baby arrives, when a family moves to a new house, or when custody arrangements shift in a family.

Any transition can be stressful, but when adults partner together during these times, the process can become much smoother.

Ideas

  • If a child is transitioning into Kindergarten, begin to contact school districts in the area and access the schools’ readiness packets.
  • Reach out to the ELRC for supportive resources before and during any transition.
  • Ask the child care provider about Hi5! if the child is transitioning into Kindergarten.
  • Inquire about taking the child to visit the new school.
  • Request a meeting with the child care provider before a transition to help prepare.
  • Collaborate on a transition plan with the child care provider.
  • Understand that the family’s role is essential in supporting a child through any transition.
  • Talk with the child about the change to come.
  • Support a child’s play scenarios relating to understanding the change.
  • Create or read a story with the child about transition to Kindergarten, a move to a new house, a new sibling, etc.
  • Consider that family events like a new baby, a move, or custody changes are important transitions.

Resources

Family Wellness Resources

Taking advantage of community resources is important—for the health and development of the child and for the wellness of the whole family! The more healthy and taken care of a family is, the more present they can be for the child as they grow.

Access the resources below to strengthen family resilience and well-being.

Resources

Advocacy in Early Childhood Education
Anti-Racism Tools
Child Behavioral & Mental Health Support
Child Development Milestones
Children’s Media
Choosing Child Care
Community Play
Communication Resources
Domestic Violence & Homelessness Support Services for Women
Early Intervention & Child Development Support
English As a Second Language (ESL) Support
Exceptional Needs Advocacy & Support
Allegheny County Family Centers

27 locations including these in the South Hills and Lower Mon Valley areas:

  • Clairton Family Center
  • Duquesne Family Center
  • Hazelwood Family Center
  • Hilltop Family Center
  • McKeesport Family Center
  • South Hills Family Center
  • Steel Valley Family Center
Financial Counseling Services
Food Assistance
General Educational Development (GED) or High School Equivalency Credential (HSE)
Health Insurance/Low Cost Health Care

* Apply for these assistance programs on the PA COMPASS website.

Housing & Rental Assistance
Immigrant & Refugee Support Services

Immigrant Services and Connections (ISAC) includes the following organizations:

Job Training
Kindergarten Transition
Social Connections
Support for Drug and Alcohol Misuse
Support Services for Families Affected by Incarceration or Family Separation
Utilities Assistance

 


This is a resource from our Family Engagement Toolkit.

Browse the entire toolkit with resources for providers, relative providers, and families.

 

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