Family Engagement for Child Care Providers: Make a Plan & Welcome Families

Building Relationships

Make A Family Engagement Plan

First things first: Make a plan! When one puts their ideas, strategies, and goals on paper, they make a commitment to themselves and their learning community to weave long-lasting, effective family engagement strategies into the fabric of their program.

Essential Questions for Reflection of a Family Engagement Practice

  • Is it culturally responsive and equitable?
  • Does it leverage the expertise, knowledge, and leadership of families, community partners, and the learning community?
  • Is it an intentional, relationship-based approach that is connected to at least one of the early learning standards? Does it support a family as their child’s guide in the educational process?
  • How will practice of the plan and its effectiveness be evaluated/measured? (Adapted from The Pennsylvania Family Engagement Birth Through College, Career, Community Ready Framework.)

As one creates their Family Engagement Plan, consider the methods used to connect and communicate with families on a regular basis. Include ongoing, two-way communication strategies as part of the Family Engagement Plan. Here are a few ideas:

  • communication app;
  • mail updates;
  • Message from Me;
  • newsletters;
  • phone calls;
  • photos;
  • social media;
  • text messages;
  • video calls;
  • website; and
  • written daily communication; My Day (PDF).

Need assistance creating a Family Engagement Plan? Contact Trying Together at 412.421.3889 or for support.

Make the First Connection: Welcome Families

Great family engagement begins in the first moments! In a Family Engagement Plan, outline strategies to welcome new families into the early learning program by considering the ideas and resources below.


  • Conduct home visits—virtual or in person.
  • Speak with families about their child before they begin care.
  • Host welcome events for families.
  • Hold enrollment meetings to discuss the family handbook and answer any questions before the family officially enrolls in care.
  • Invite families to visit the classroom (or do a virtual “visit” with a family member during circle or snack time.)
  • Establish the families’ preferred ways to communicate.
  • Make sure any written information for the family is conveyed in their preferred language.
  • Set up the play and learning areas, cubbies, and furniture with the accessibility needs of the children before they arrive for their first day–and ask families if there is anything missing to best accommodate their child’s needs.


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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