It is essential that families are fully engaged in the lives of their children, including being invested in their child’s education. Establishing meaningful family engagement in your program is critical. It’s the basis for many other programmatic activities and requirements. The Family Service Worker is the first point of contact for our families. Engaging families and establishing a good working relationship with them is a foundational element in Head Start.
We’ve found that building successful relationships with parents includes:
- Empathize: Finding the right approach for effective work with families starts with an ability to extend empathy… to understand where they are and where they want to go. Engage and build connection with families by allowing adequate time for conversation and listening with an open mind. Initiate “rich” conversations with families that get to the heart of where families are and where they want to be. Create a safe environment for them to share their strengths and open up about areas of challenge.
- Encourage: To encourage means to “walk along side of” and that is exactly how we want to approach our work with families. Take the time to extend assurance, to work together to create solutions and to offer support in a patient and helpful way. This will lead to meaningful connections.Take time to discover what the family is all about and what is important to them – recognizing their strengths and needs.
- Empower: Helping families to be involved in their child’s learning is a key component to empowering families. This sets them up for success during their time in Head Start – and after Head Start. Recognize the importance of the parents’ role as their child’s first and most important teacher. Build partnerships as they enter the educational process. Assist as families learn to advocate for their children. Being involved in their child’s education will allow families to grow and be on their way to self-sufficiency.
Are you looking for highly interactive & practice-based training on“Empathize, Encourage & Empower: Building Successful Relationships with Parents”? This training will be custom designed to meet the important role of your Family Service Workers. Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.