Program Strategies for Family Engagement
From a program perspective, many strategies can help boost the level of family engagement. First and foremost, it will be necessary to create buy-in from two different audiences – your staff and the families enrolled in your program.
Work with staff to explore the benefits and possibilities that existed with enhanced family engagement. Meet teachers where they are and create goals suited for each individual or teaching team. Be sure to collaborate with teachers rather than taking a top-down approach. Help staff find training on the topics of family engagement, cultural responsiveness, and communication skills so that they have the confidence to engage with each family enrolled in the program.
Collaboration is going to be important when working with families as well. While it is true that not every family with be able to become (or interested in being) deeply involved with your program, chances are there are some families who would love to be involved in getting family engagement initiatives off the ground. Consider creating a committee made up of administrators, employees, and family members who will focus on coming up with realistic family engagement strategies for your program. Note: Realistic will mean something different to each program.
Here are some suggestions to help you get started:
- Create a comfortable space to meet with families. This area should be able to be made private in the event that sensitive conversations need to be conducted. The space can be used for family-teacher conversations or as a space for families to converse with one another.
- Create reasons for families to connect with each other, share resources, and work together.
- Host parent resource events at various times throughout the year. Get family feedback on the topics that are most important to them. Be sure to record these events and post the recordings for parents who were unable to attend. You could also host these events virtually, removing the need for families to come into the building for a meeting after hours.
- Ask local community resources to contribute to your resource library. Be sure to have a good contact number, email, or web address that families can use to access information. Highlight new resources in your regular newsletter or on social media.
- Ask enrolled family members to act as family mentors to newly enrolled families. Duties include general welcome-to-the-community tasks that help new families connect with the group.
- Make family engagement a selling point of your program. Before the family decides to enroll in your program, they should recognize the value you put on family engagement.
Again, there are numerous strategies that are not listed here including the traditional carnivals and child-centered events that families attend. See if you can think of ways to help parents connect during these popular events, either with one another, with your staff, or with the broader community.
For the main article Family Engagement Strategies, CLICK HERE
For the article Goals of Family Engagement, CLICK HERE
For the article Engaging with Diverse Families, CLICK HERE
For the article Family Engagement in the Classroom, CLICK HERE