As with most initiatives in early childhood education, the leadership team sets the tone for the eventual success or failure of the initiative. Leaders are responsible for establishing the vision, creating excitement and buy-in, communicating about the initiative to multiple audiences, and managing tasks and expectations. That is a tall order!
Before rolling out a new family engagement tool, members of leadership should spend time designing a comprehensive implementation plan. The Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that programs use a 4-phase approach to implementing new family involvement strategies:
- Phase 1 – Exploration: In this phase, leaders determine the needs of the community, identify staff readiness, and work to determine what resources and personnel will be required to achieve success.
- Phase 2 – Installation: In the phase, leaders act to lay the foundation of the plan to ensure successful implementation of the plan by training staff, connecting with community resources, developing policies and procedures, and determining how the success of the initiative will be measured.
- Phase 3 – Initial Implementation: In this phase, the targeted measures are introduced in alignment with the decisions that were made during the first two stages. Data is gathered on the implementation and adjustments are made to improve the outcome, including additional training and coaching as needed.
- Phase 4 – Full Implementation: In the final stage, the engagement strategy is worked into the fabric of the program, including training for new employees who join the team. Data on the effectiveness of the strategy is collected and adjustments are made to support employees and families.
More detailed information about this organizational plan can be found in Implementing Parenting Interventions in Early Care and Education Settings: A Guidebook for Implementation, which includes the very helpful Appendix C: Checklists of Implementation Milestones, by Implementation Stage.
For more information about formal family engagement programs, check out the CCEI Blog for December 2020.
For the main article Boosting Family Engagement, CLICK HERE
For the article Types of Family Involvement, CLICK HERE
For the article Benefits of Increased Family Engagement, CLICK HERE
For the article Grassroots Family Engagement Strategies, CLICK HERE