Getting Started with the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Simulation Series

Simulation character sitting at a table

Boosting School Readiness through Effective Family Engagement

The Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Simulation Series takes you to a virtual Head Start/Early Head Start center where you assume the role of a staff member. You will have the chance to build Positive Goal-Oriented Relationships with the Martin family. Use the PFCE Simulations to practice six relationship-building strategies in line with the PFCE Framework:

  • Observe and describe the child’s behavior to open communication with the family
  • Reflect on the family’s perspective
  • Support competence
  • Focus on the family-child relationship
  • Value a family's passion
  • Reflect on your own perspective

You will learn to make intentional choices about what to discuss with family members and how to respond to their feedback. You can also "undo" a comment – something we could all use now and then in real life. A meter on the screen indicates the strength of your relationship with the family. Relationship strength is determined by the effectiveness of the decisions you make about what to say and do.

Explore the Simulations

In the first simulation, Engaging Families from the Start, you will begin a relationship with the Martin family during an intake visit.

In the second simulation, Goal Setting with Families, you'll explore the process for setting and implementing goals.

In the third simulation, Starting with Strengths in Challenging Times, you'll practice using strengths-based attitudes that support strong partnerships with families.

View and print helpful tips to use with the simulations:

Simulation 1
Simulation 2 [PDF, 164KB]
Simulation 3 [PDF, 144KB]

The simulations can be used in a number of ways, including:

  • On your own. Afterward, share your experience, insights, and questions with your team.
  • With a team. Pause after each step to discuss your next choice and how it can inform your program's:
    • Professional development – How might these skills help you partner with families to support their progress?
    • Continuous improvement – What types of data can help you understand how families experience your interactions?
    • Recruitment and orientation – How can you use these skills with potential families and new staff?
  • With your supervisor. Reflect on your experiences together. Discuss opportunities to deepen your skills to support the progress of children and families.

How are you using the PFCE simulations to support the work you do with families and children? Share your feedback and suggestions by emailing us at NCPFCE@childrens.harvard.edu.

Having Trouble Using the Simulation?

For users with slow or no Internet connection, you may download the Stand-Alone Deployment Archive to run locally on your computer.

Simulation 1: Engaging Families from the Start


Simulation 2: Goal-setting with Families


Simulation 3: Starting with Strengths in Challenging Times

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Last Reviewed: August 2015

Last Updated: April 28, 2016