“It’s not what you said, it’s the way you said it.” How many times have you heard that? Poor communication is the cause of many challenges – challenges that can affect many areas of your program. Child and family outcomes will not be as high as they could be if high-functioning relationships are not in place. Effective communication is critical for building relationships between teachers and families – and that includes both the children and their parents. Family service workers and home visitors must build strong relationships with parents. And communication is key to building successful working relationships between staff and co-workers.
So, how can you solve communication problems? We focus on 3 factors that help build effective communication skills and successful relationships.
Build a secure foundation.
When building a relationship, you have to make the person feel safe and secure. This is true whether we’re talking about a teacher working with a child – or a family service worker or home visitor working with a parent. When the child feels safe and secure, they are ready to learn. When a parent feels safe and secure, they are open to talking about and addressing issues as they work toward self-sufficiency.
Act like a professional” is overused and often misunderstood. Professionalism doesn’t mean working a corporate job or wearing a suit but rather, demonstrating a professional attitude. It means conducting oneself with responsibility, integrity and accountability. It means communicating appropriately and always finding a way to be productive. It involves boundaries, intentionality and ensuring that the customer is always heard.
Focus on outcomes.
When children feel safe and secure, they learn more and their assessment scores are higher. When family service workers and home visitors build a true partnership with parents, parents engage more. They feel safe and are more willing to address the challenges in their life. When staff have strong working relationships with each other, everyone is more productive. Accomplishments thrive.
We provide staff training on effective communication, building relationships, and professionalism. We can help increase the child and family outcomes within your program. Give us a call at (704) 451-3255.
In case you weren’t able to view the March 11th National Head Start Association webinar on the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget, there were some interesting points of discussion and worthwhile news on upcoming opportunities. Items discussed include the increase in Head Start funding, the President’s 2015 budget proposal, upcoming opportunities, NHSA’s top advocacy priorities, and NHSA’s advocacy plan for the next 2 months. See the bulleted highlights below for the details.
Head Start Funding FY 2008 – FY 2014:
- Head Start’s funding level has increased significantly. In FY 2008, Head Start’s funding level was approximately 6.8 billion and in FY 2014, it is just over 8.5 billion. While most federal programs’ funds recently decreased, (including child welfare, education and health), Head Start’s funds have increased. This is due to your great advocacy work!
FY 2015 President’s Budget Proposal:
- Head Start/Early Head Start
- $8.868 billion ($270 million increase)
- $8.193 billion in base funding (including $100 million COLA)
- $650 million for Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships ($150 million increase)
- $25 million for DRS transition
- Opportunity, Growth & Security Initiative
- $56 billion fund that includes $800 million for Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships and for “supporting Head Start grantees who are expanding program duration and investing in teacher quality”
- Maternal, Infant & Early Childhood Home Visiting
- $500 million total funding (roughly $120 million increase); 15 billion over 10 years
- Child Care and Development Fund
- $750 million mandatory; $57 million increase in discretionary money
- Community Services Block Grant
- $350 million in total funding (cut of $324 million)
- Race to the Top – Pre-K
- $500 million in discretionary Race to the Top funding ($250 million increase over FY 2014)
- $1.3 billion in FY 2015 for State partnership Pre-K (Strong Start)
Opportunities for the Head Start Community:
- Rethink & refresh – let’s put the sequester behind us and promote our commitment to quality.
- Consider Early Head Start – Child Care partnerships to serve more birth to 3 children with the new funding.
- Position Head Start as the most accountable and effective early childhood education and driver of economic mobility.
NHSA’s Top Advocacy Priorities:
- Head Start funding
- Preventing resumption of sequester of 2016
- Positioning Head Start in the President’s Plan and Strong Start legislation
- DRS mitigation
- Implementing the Policy Agenda
- Preparations for Reauthorization
Advocacy Plan – March & April:
- Workforce State of Emergency – Call for stories: NHSA is looking for stories from Head Start staff who are struggling due to not receiving a livable wage. We are also looking for stories of other struggles (i.e. stress, healthcare costs, continuing education, etc.). These stories will become our advocacy activities. For more information – go.nhsa.org/workforce-emergency.
- Members of Congress are on a 2-week recess in April (weeks of April 14th & April 24th). Invite them to visit your program to say thank you and to remind them that Head Start changes the lives of children and families in their district and across the country.