April 5, 2013
One major step toward engaging and involving families in your program is to create a welcoming environment, one that helps parents and other family members feel comfortable, supported, and like they belong. Feeling welcomed comes from attributes of the program’s physical space but also, more importantly, the interpersonal communication and the everyday practices of the program.
Embrace families when they visit or come to pick up their children. Take a fresh look at your space, your policies, and your staff’s practices. Use the Know Your Families tool from Y4Y as a guide for sprucing up your environment to make it more welcoming, and don’t forget to ask families what improvements they would like to see.
For a staff development session on creating a welcoming environment, follow along with the action in this video and identify ways that the characters are not creating a welcoming environment. The second part of the video shows how different a parent feels when a welcoming environment is provided. How does your program compare to what you see in the video?