Family Engagement in Early Childhood Settings

Family Engagement in Early Childhood Settings

by Mary Muhs


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Working with parents and families can be a challenge, especially when there are contradicting expectations. However, it can also be a joyful and empowering experience for both the program and the family if partnering with families is built into the program’s culture. Following a strengths-based approach, Family Engagement in Early Childhood Settings offers all programs, including family child care, center-based programs, and school-based programs, strategies for building or enhancing interactions, engagement, expectations, communication, and participation with families.

This Redleaf Quick Guide provides clear information of what to do, as well as what not to do when encouraging family engagement in early care and education programs. Readers will find helpful information on making the best first impressions with parents in-person and online, establishing effective and supportive intake meetings for both parents and program, setting expectations from both perspectives, two-way communication strategies including daily conversations, verbal and technological methods, conferences and documenting learning, and creating a culture of family engagement embedded into every part of your program.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781605546056
Publisher: Redleaf Press
Publication date: 11/13/2018
Series: Redleaf Quick Guide Series
Pages: 88
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Mary Muhs is the department chair for early childhood education at Rasmussen College. She graduated with a master’s degree in early childhood administration from National Louis University, maintains a Level 3 IL Director Credential, and is currently pursuing an EdD in early childhood education from Walden University. Mary is also busy as a CDA credential PD specialist, an infant/toddler and health and safety coach for the Center for Inclusive Child Care, a NAEYC higher education peer reviewer, and an active trainer both in-person and online. Her thirty years of experience has helped her develop perspectives from all parts of the early care and education field.

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Culture of Family Engagement
Chapter One: Making a First Impression
First Impressions
Social Media
Phone Calls
Open Door Policy for All Families
Chapter Two: Learning One Another
Intake Meetings and Experiences
Setting and Establishing Expectations
Feedback Loops: Surveys, Parent Groups
Parent Education Opportunities: Lunch and Learns—Ten Lunch and Learn Topics, Curriculum Nights—Five Curriculum Night Ideas, Educational Webinars—Ten Webinar Topics
Chapter Three: Give and Take of Communication
Confidentiality and Ethics
Ins and outs of sharing daily events and occurrences
Timing: Drop- off, Nap Time, Pick-up, Pre-arranged Meetings
Verbal Communication: Verbal Communication Strategies, Three Pluses and a Wish, The Sandwich
Technological Communication: Texting, Phone, Happy Calls/Good News Calls, Email
Interactive Daily Communication Apps
Documentation of Learning
Conferences and Meetings
Challenges with Conferences: Parents who do not attend, Delivering sensitive or constructive information, Parents who are opposed to program policy or curriculum goals, Delivering information about developmental concerns
Chapter Four: Communication Methods
Verbal Communication
Technological Communication
Chapter 5: Sharing Children's Learning
Documentation of Learning
Conferences and Meetings
Chapter 6: Participation and Engagement
Appendix A: Family Visit Record
Appendix B: Intake Interview Questions to Ask
Appendix C : Newsletter Templates
Appendix D : Conference Questions

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