Family Engagement for Child Care Providers: Connect to Keystone STARS Performance Standards: STAR 2

Make partnerships with families and communities.

FC 2.1

Program has a written policy that states that Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) written plans, and/or special needs assessments, with family permission, are appropriately utilized to inform individualized instruction. The policy also recommends that the child’s teacher participate in the IEP/ IFSP meeting which must include family members, an early childhood teacher, Early Intervention (EI) specialists, and director or administrator.


  • Understand that families might be hesitant to share an IEP/IFSP because of shame or embarrassment.
  • Enlist family engagement strategies to build trust and connection with families.
  • Talk with families about how an IEP/IFSP can enhance their child’s learning and growth.
  • Arrange for staff coverage if necessary so the child’s primary educator can attend the IEP/IFSP meetings.
  • Encourage educators to directly refer to IEP/IFSP goals in their lesson plan objectives.
  • Ask for input from families with children who have IEP/ IFSPs in order to understand how best to support them.


Early Intervention and Child Development Support

FC 2.2

Program has a written policy to demonstrate how children are helped to transition between developmental stages. Policy includes a plan to share information with families. Policies might include activities that support transition from: role as infant to older child in mixed age group; teacher directed play to child directed play; one classroom/group or program to the next; pre-kindergarten to kindergarten; school age program to self-care; and one early learning program to another.


  • Know that caregiver’s role in a child’s life is essential in supporting the child and their family during transition.
  • Communicate with families in advance–send an email or a letter, have a phone call, or an in-person transition meeting–to inform the families about the transition and discuss any support they might need.
  • Access the school district’s readiness packet to share with families of children transitioning to Kindergarten.
  • Invite school guidance counselors to speak to the children about their new school.
  • Encourage the parent or caregiver to reach out to ELRC Region 5 for supportive resources before and during a transition.
  • Host a transition event.
  • Fill a backpack with necessary supplies, transition information for parents and notes about a child’s development and learning style to take with them through their transition.
  • Show children their new cubbies or take them to visit their new classroom.
  • Consider that family events like a new baby, a move, homelessness, or custody changes are important transitions.
  • Offer information about Hi5! to the family if the child is transitioning into Kindergarten.
  • 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.


FC 2.3

Program has a policy and/or practice in place to support and encourage family engagement. A minimum of one family conference is offered per year to discuss children’s progress and behavioral, social, and physical needs as well as the family’s goals for their child.


  • 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 behavior, social and emotional growth, physical development, and a families’ needs and goals.
  • Host events for families to connect: picnics, family nights, learning activities, lectures/discussions on relevant topics for families, lunch and learns, an open house, or game night.
  • Document communication with families about family engagement events.
  • Be sure events are accessible to all family members–use the Reflective Questions as a guide.
  • Formulate the provider Family Engagement Plan to keep a program on task and in regular, supportive communication with families.


FC 2.4

A current Family Handbook is distributed to outline program policies and practices beyond those required by Certification.


  • Carefully consider the information to include in the Family Handbook.
  • Use a sample handbook to guide the creation of a Family Handbook.
  • Develop policies with input from staff and families.
  • Be thorough.
  • Make changes to the handbook as needed and update all families and staff of these changes.
  • Dispense a copy of the handbook to all families—a paper copy or an electronic version, depending on families’ preference.
  • Consider how to share Family Handbook information with families—scheduling an enrollment meeting, hosting a virtual Parent Handbook Q&A, etc.


Keystone STARS Performance Standards: STAR 3 & 4

Connect to STAR 3 & 4 using this toolkit.


This is a resource from our Family Engagement Toolkit.

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


Line separator