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April 5, 2013

Picnics, basketball games, and breaking ground in a garden are all examples of fun spring activities with greater potential for family involvement. Before you implement your family engagement plans, though, take stock of who your families are and make sure that your efforts match their interests and needs.

The Supporting and Involving Families tool, listed under Family Involvement in the Tools section of the portal, offers some general ways to engage, support, and involve families in your program. To mold an effective strategy, take some of the general suggestions and tailor them to your program and families in the “Personalization” column. Think of all the springtime possibilities for three or four of the promising practices listed, then plan how to put your ideas into action.  



April 5, 2013

Like a raindrop in an April shower, sometimes small things can make a big splash. Effective family involvement efforts don’t always have to take a lot of time or effort, as you can see from the ideas on Y4Y's Reaching Out to Families tool. Try some of the various ideas in the tool to find ones that are just right for your program families.

Do you have a family involvement idea that made a big splash in your program? Y4Y challenges you to share with colleagues across the country the ways you’ve connected with your families. Add your idea to the Discussion Board thread, ”Creative Connections with Families” and describe how it turned out. As the discussion builds, you’ll find all sorts of new tactics to try.



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?



January 16, 2013

A topic like cultural competence can be tough to wrap your head around, but it’s a critical asset for you to build in your staff. The Cultural Competence Training To Go in the Family Involvement module sets up the entire session for you, even detailing which questions to ask and how to facilitate the activities.

The PowerPoint and handouts have a professional look and are designed to encourage participants to reflect on this important topic. A training plan lays out the timing for the session and lists what materials are needed.

Since you know your staff best, you can choose to deliver the training as is or edit, add, and delete slides to tailor it to your staff’s experiences and needs. Or, use just the handouts as coaching tools for individual staff members. You can even divide up the training and distribute sections to several staff who can co-lead a session.