Young children’s partners in learning about the world around them are their families and, when in early learning education and care programs, their caregivers or teachers. Our commitment as educators is to ensure every child’s optimal development through strong parent-teacher partnerships. Simply put, what children learn and how they learn are largely a function of their relationships with parents, siblings, peers, and caregivers or teachers.
Meaningful family engagement in children’s early learning supports school readiness and later academic success. For family engagement to be integrated throughout early childhood systems and programs, providers and schools must engage families as essential partners when providing services that promote children’s learning and development.
Supports that build on family and strengths and promote family engagement may be provided through:
Strong, trusting relationships between teachers and families
Recognition, respect, and support for families’ needs as well as differences
Identified classroom practices that help families feel welcome
Onsite comprehensive services
Partnerships with organizations and specialists in the community
Strong family engagement in early childhood systems and programs is central—not supplemental—to promoting children’s healthy intellectual, physical, and social-emotional development; preparing children for school; and supporting academic achievement in elementary school and beyond. Connected and engaged families are better supported as they teach, nurture, and advocate for their children, and in turn, they support and improve the early childhood systems that care for and teach children. This collaborative partnership results in children having a more positive attitude toward school, staying in school longer, having better attendance, and experiencing more school success.
I encourage you to visit this link that provides more information, tools, and ideas: https://y4y.ed.gov/tools/#family. You are the welcoming doorway for parents and families to connect with children’s learning and development and they, too, are valuable resources for your program or classroom.