Teaching with CLASS®

Keeping Families Engaged in the Early Childhood Years

Teaching with CLASS®
Keeping Families Engaged in the Early Childhood Years

Many programs struggle with family engagement—particularly with engaging families in helping children with reading and homework at home. Educators may sometimes live in fear of complaints from caregivers and that can lead to a lack of trust between teachers and caregivers. In this episode, we’ll speak with Heather Sason, an early childhood professional who's been supporting families since she was 15. Now she has a child of her own and a community based playroom where families and children are invited to play and interact with other families. Heather is passionate about the topic of family engagement and will share some tips that educators can use to keep families involved in their children’s learning.

Here are some tips that Heather shared on how teachers can develop relationships and build trust with families, both in remote learning and in-person settings:

  • Teachers should be themselves! Showing your true self as a teacher, will make parents/caregivers feel more at ease.
  • Bank time with the parents to build those relationships. This helps tremendously, especially at conference time.
  • In remote settings, invite parents/caregivers to join the first few minutes of each session if they can, and take this opportunity to bank a few moments with each of the parents. 
  • In remote settings, also take the time to schedule virtual parent/caregiver gatherings every few months. Let them talk and get to know one another, and you better. 
  • For in-person settings, invite parents/caregivers to volunteer in the classroom, and drop by anytime they want. Also, invite them to special events such as parties or special visitors coming to the classroom.
  • If your center permits it, send pictures to the parents/caregivers during naptime of what their children have been doing that day. 

Learn more about family engagement on our blog:

Check out Heather’s Little Fish Playroom and her blog: How to Set Up Infant & Toddler Learning Spaces to Facilitate Exploration. 

To see more photos of Little Fish and learn more, go to facebook.com/littlefishplayroom and www.littlefishplayroom.com

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