Family Engagement for Child Care Providers: Connect to Keystone STARS Performance Standards: STAR 3 & 4

Make partnerships with families.

FC 3.4.1

A plan is written and implemented describing procedures to refer families to social, mental health, educational, wellness, and medical services when appropriate.

Ideas

  • Formulate a step-by-step plan for educators and directors to follow when they have concerns about a child’s development.
  • Identify families’ unique needs and actively gather resources that best meet those particular needs.
  • Reach out to nearby organizations to make connections and learn about services.
  • Develop a binder or an online list of useful resources to support family wellness.
  • Let families know about resources that may benefit them.

Resources

 

FC 3.4.2

A minimum of two family conferences are offered per year to discuss children’s strengths, progress, behavioral, social, and physical needs, and the family’s goals for their child.

Ideas

  • Reach out to all families to inform them of available conference times in advance.
  • Consider adjusting conference times to meet families’ scheduling needs.
  • Consider having a video conference or a phone call if families are not able to meet in person.
  • Save copies of communication with families about conferences, emails, conference time sign-up sheets, and records of completed/offered conferences.
  • Document the information shared in the conference: a child’s social and emotional growth, physical development, a families’ needs and goals, etc.
  • Reference the Family Engagement Plan to assess family engagement goals and ongoing communication strategies.

Resources

 

FC 3.4.3

Program implements practices that support continuity of care that helps ensure children and families are engaged in continued, high-quality early learning experiences through stable relationships with caregivers.

Ideas

  • Include the plan for continuity of care in the Family Handbook.
  • Consider moving educators along with children as they grow in the program.
  • Plan group activities or events with children’s former or future educators.
  • Intentionally create moments throughout the day in which children can maintain contact with former caregivers–story time, drop off, outdoor play time, etc.
  • Communicate with families about the plan for slowly transitioning a child to a new educator’s care. (For example, the child might spend a few hours in the new classroom and slowly phase into a full day there over time.)
  • Develop a mentor program for older children to assist and connect with younger children in the program.
  • Consider planning for educator absences with continuity of care in mind (for example, covering absences with the same substitute educator.)

Resources

 

FC 3.4.4

Families are engaged in ways that demonstrate their participation in shaping the policies and procedures of the program and that encourage family networking.

Ideas

  • Invite families to participate in any changes to policies.
  • Hold meetings, send online surveys, or make a comment box to invite input from families.
  • Encourage the formation of a Family Advisory Council.
  • Organize mentorship for families—connect new families with seasoned families in the program.
  • Host events for families to connect: picnics, family nights, learning activities, lectures/discussions on relevant topics for families, lunch and learns, an open house, and game nights.
  • Be sure events are accessible to all family members–use the Reflective Questions as a guide.
  • Provide information and opportunities for participating in group advocacy efforts in early childhood.

Resources

 

FC 3.4.5

Opportunities for families to attend education workshops are provided on topics such as: early literacy; adult/family literacy; positive family-child interactions; cultural awareness; substance misuse, developmental issues; health and safety; and/or other topics that address the identified needs and interests of enrolled families. Translation/interpreters are provided for families as needed.

Ideas

  • Gather input from families and educators regarding the learning areas that are most relevant to families.
  • Seek out learning experiences in the community and share that information directly with families.
  • Partner with the neighborhood Family Center to stay updated on community events.
  • Invite experts into the program to speak to families about relevant topics.
  • When planning an event, consider families’ transportation needs.
  • Offer translation/interpretation services if needed.
  • Arrange for child care during these events to encourage full participation.
  • Keep a record of communication about events offered to families (flyers, sign in sheets, emails, etc.)

Resources

 

FC 3.4.6

The Strengthening Families Protective Factor Framework or a similarly focused evidence-based tool is used to assess engagement of and interactions with families. The results of the self-assessment are used to inform the program’s CQI plan.

Ideas

  • Know that a process of self-assessment is essential in developing an ongoing, effective family engagement practice.
  • Consider accessing training to effectively implement the PA Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework in the program.
  • Decide how often to implement the self-assessment and mark those dates on the calendar.
  • Plan to use the self-assessment to regularly inform the CQI plan and to keep on task in fulfilling the family engagement goals.

Resources

 

FC 3.4.7

A current community resource handbook or materials are available to all families and includes community and school-based resources and/or information about direct services to promote child/family safety, health, and stability.

Ideas

  • Identify families’ unique needs and actively gather resources that best meet those particular needs.
  • Reach out to nearby organizations to make connections and learn about services.
  • Develop a binder or an online list of useful resources to support family wellness.
  • Make time in the schedule to regularly update resources and determine which resources best support the program’s families.
  • Let families know that the program can support them by providing relevant resources.

Resources

 

FC 3.4.8

To support learning at home, a variety of methods are used to communicate with families about curriculum objectives, early childhood education goals, and effective strategies for supporting their child’s development.

Ideas

  • Email lesson plans to families regularly and include learning objectives.
  • Invest in regular communication using virtual platforms, apps, a social media page, email updates, etc., and include strategies for supporting child development.
  • Use bulletin boards or displays to highlight children’s progress.
  • Complete written daily communication for infants and toddlers and include information about developmental milestones.
  • Host a workshop in which families and educators discuss ways to support children’s development in partnership with program goals.

Resources

Keystone STARS Performance Standards: STAR 2

Connect to STAR 2 using this toolkit.


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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