Family Engagement

Understanding Family Engagement Outcomes: Research to Practice Series

The Research to Practice Series addresses each of the Family Engagement Outcomes of the Office of Head Start (OHS) Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework. Aligned with Head Start Performance Standards, each resource presents a summary of selected research, proven interventions and promising practices, and program strategies intended to be useful for the Head Start and Early Head Start community. Designed to support program efforts toward systemic and integrated engagement, the series highlights strategies that programs can use to foster strong relationships and support positive outcomes for children, families, and staff.

Family Well-being

Deepen your understanding of the PFCE Framework Family Well-being Outcome with this resource. Research shows that when families are safe, healthy, and financially secure, they have a better chance of thriving. Strong families can build positive relationships with their children, peers, and communities. Strong families help children succeed in school and in life. The resource presents a summary of selected research and strategies to strengthen family well-being for the Head Start and Early Head Start community.

Family Well-being: A Focus on Parental Depression

Learn more about parental depression and how mental wellness can lead to improved family well-being, one of the PFCE Framework outcomes. Early childhood research and practice shows a strong link between parents' health and well-being and their children's development. Providing strengths-based support, information about depression, and referrals for treatment can make a huge difference for parents and for their children.

For more resources on supporting family well-being, please visit Family Connections.

Families as Learners

Explore ways to promote the PFCE Framework's "Families as Learners" Outcome. Programs can encourage learning as a lifelong process that can enrich the lives of staff, families, and children. Learning can occur in everyday activities and informal groups, as well as structured settings. It can support goal-setting, parent-child relationships, professional growth, and peer and community connections. This resource describes research and offers suggestions to foster learning for staff, families, and children.

Family Engagement and School Readiness

Learn how meaningful family engagement contributes to children's school readiness and healthy development. School readiness is the process of early learning when children gain the skills and attitudes to learn and thrive in school. Early learning is rooted in strong parent-child relationships and family well-being. Explore the research on the link between family engagement and school readiness. Find strategies and additional resources to support staff and programs in boosting their family engagement and school readiness practices.

Positive Parent‐Child Relationships

Find strategies for addressing the PFCE Framework family engagement outcome, "Positive Parent-Child Relationships." Positive parent-child relationships provide the foundation for children's learning. Children discover how to manage emotions and behaviors and establish healthy bonds. They learn to adjust to new situations and resolve conflicts. These important skills help lead to success in school. Head Start and Early Head Start staff may use this resource to strengthen their understanding and look at ways to encourage positive relationships in their programs.

Families as Lifelong Educators

Enhance your understanding of the PFCE Framework outcome, "Families as Lifelong Educators" with this resource. Families are their child's most important teachers. Beginning with a healthy pregnancy and sensitive early interactions, they create the positive bonds that give children the best chance at success. Families can work with programs, schools, and communities to create an environment that supports learning. Head Start and Early Head Start staff may use this resource to learn how to help families build foundations that promote success in learning and life.

Family Engagement in Transitions: Transition to Kindergarten

Discover the importance of the PFCE Framework outcome, "Family Engagement in Transitions." It is critical that parents and families support their children's learning and development as they transition to new environments. The transition to kindergarten is a major event in the lives of children and families. It is a pivotal point for establishing the kinds of practices that can help sustain gains children have made in their early learning settings. This resource will help Head Start and Early Head Start staff better understand the impact the transition to kindergarten has on children and families. Staff also can find examples of how strong PFCE Framework program foundations and impact areas are linked with successful program practices.

Family Connections to Peers and Community

Explore the benefits of the family engagement outcome, "Family Connections to Peers and Community." A strong and positive social support system makes a difference in the lives of families and children. Use these strategies to increase Head Start and Early Head Start staff understanding of how social supports contribute to healthy development and school readiness for children. This resource also offers ideas for bringing families together and fostering connections in programs.

Families as Advocates and Leaders

Develop a deeper understanding of the PFCE Framework family engagement outcome, "Families as Advocates and Leaders." When families participate in decision-making, organizing, and policy development, they strengthen their own leadership and advocacy skills. These skills can benefit their children, peers, and communities as well. Read related research and learn new strategies to add to the leadership and advocacy opportunities already in your program.

For examples of programs working toward positive outcomes for children and families, visit Best Practices in Family and Community Engagement Video Series.