Family Engagement

Tips for Organizing Support Groups and Activities

  • Create opportunities for fathers to share their knowledge, joy, parenting experiences, challenges, and wonderings with other fathers.
    • Consider adopting a parenting curriculum focused on fathering that offers opportunities to build and practice skills.
    • Explore a variety of topics based on interests shared by fathers.
  • Reflect the diversity of the backgrounds, experiences, and interests of fathers in the program.
    • Establish group agreements that foster respect for the individual differences of the men in the group so that different types of male role models know they are welcome.
  • a group of men talkingJoin with community partners to refer fathers to groups according to their strengths, interests, and needs.
    • Some examples include educational and vocational training, employment opportunities, and individual counseling.
  • Offer professional development activities to help staff become skilled facilitators in men's groups.
    • Use opportunities for reflective practice to encourage staff to consider their own perspectives, assumptions, and biases.
  • Partner with established group members to decide on activities together.
    • Decide together what activities and events match the strengths and interests of the fathers in the group.
    • Encourage fathers to lead the planning process.
  • Learn from fathers about their experience in the group and use their ideas about how to enhance the group for continuous improvement and tracking progress.

Parent engagement takes many forms. It can include supporting children's learning and development at home, building relationships with teachers and family services staff, volunteering in the classroom, communicating with staff, or participating in Policy Council. Programs may find that father groups are a first step for engaging fathers in other activities to support their children's learning and development.

Participating in activities and groups offers fathers the opportunity to become part of a community of people who care about young children. Often, father groups contribute to programs in concrete ways. Groups of fathers may participate in events or projects to enhance the spaces around the classroom and in the community. As fathers join together in these ways, they become more invested in the program. Participation may also lead to stronger relationships with their children as men gain new tools from other fathers and feel more confident about supporting their children's learning and development. They are better prepared to discuss their goals for their children's progress as they spend time with other fathers.

Topic:Family Engagement

Keywords:Father engagement

Resource Type: Article

Last Updated: November 28, 2018