Family Service Workers and Home Visitors are the first point of contact for our families. The way that they approach and build relationships with parents as well as how they engage them in the goal setting process is critical. It sets the tone for the rest of the school year. High quality family engagement includes several key elements.
- Build the relationship. Engage and build connection with families by allowing adequate time for conversation and listening with an open mind. Hearing what families are saying is vital. It is important that staff spend time getting to know each family member as an individual and work to establish a comfort level with each one. Initiate “rich” conversations with parents that get to the heart of where parents are and where they want to be. Create a safe environment for them to share their strengths and open up about areas of challenge. The key is to begin this relationship at application and enrollment, building it consistently and authentically.
- Partner for goal setting. Individualized Family Partnership Agreements are living documents and must be reflective of the people involved in setting the goals. Family Partnership Agreements are intentional, purposeful and based on the strengths and needs of each family. As staff invite each family to participate in the goal setting process, they should work in partnership with parents to determine realistic, specific and realistic goals. Partner with each parent to ensure that they see the benefit of goal setting as well as identify goals that will be helpful to the family. Work with parents to create goals that are broken down into specific steps that can be attained.
- Empower for the future. Creating capacity is a key component in empowering families and setting them up for success during their time in Head Start as well as after their time in Head Start. Recognize the importance of their role as their child’s first and most important teacher. Work closely with parents to ensure that they are fully engaged in their child’s education. Assist them in building partnerships as they enter the educational process and advocate for their child. Create a strong partnership with each parent in order to guide and support them on the road to self-sufficiency.
The “Best Practices of Family Engagement” training includes topics such as:
- Building successful relationships with families
- Having hard conversations with parents
- Moving from Helper to Partner
- Adult education techniques
- Implementing the PFCE Framework
- Engaging fathers
- Family Partnership Agreements
- Establishing boundaries
- Working with challenging families
- Caring for yourself in order to care for families
Are you looking for on-site, highly interactive & practice-based training on “Best Practices of Family Engagement”? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.