Family Engagement and School Readiness

Strong partnerships with families are key to children’s school readiness and healthy development. Use the following resources in your work to engage families in their children’s learning. Head Start, Early Head Start, and early care and education programs will find them useful.

Early Learning and School Readiness

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Understanding Family Engagement Outcomes: Family Engagement and School Readiness [PDF, 538KB]

Learn how meaningful family engagement contributes to children’s school readiness and healthy development. Explore the research about 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.

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Family Engagement and School Readiness Newsletter Series

Visit our newsletter series archive to learn how meaningful family engagement contributes to children’s school readiness and healthy development. Find strategies, resources, and related research for staff and programs.

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Family Engagement and Ongoing Child Assessment [PDF, 679KB]

The partnership between parents and staff is fundamental to children's current and future success in school readiness and beyond. Discover how programs can share information with families about children's learning and development. Identify specific strategies that support relationship building with families.

Available in Spanish (español) [PDF, 2.1MB].

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Understanding Family Engagement Outcomes: Positive Parent-Child Relationships [PDF, 506KB]

Find strategies and research to strengthen parent-child relationships, the foundation for children's success in school. Positive parent-child relationships help children learn how to manage emotions and behaviors and establish healthy bonds.

Relationship-Based Practice and School Readiness

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Tell Me a Story

Reading stories with social-emotional themes is one of the ways parents and early care and education staff can support children’s healthy development. Head Start, Early Head Start, and early care and education staff can use the Tell Me a Story resources to help build parent and staff capacity to use books and stories to help young children explore important topics such as managing strong emotions, dealing with feelings of grief, or working on social skills.

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PFCE Simulation Series: Boosting School Readiness through Effective Family Engagement

What you do and say matters! Explore and practice everyday strategies to develop positive goal-oriented relationships with a family. These relationships are key to our work with children and families, including the journey toward school readiness. Simulation 1 allows you to practice building bonds with families, beginning with an intake visit. Simulation 2 explores the process of developing and implementing goals with families. NEW! Simulation 3 explores using strengths-based attitudes to partner with families during challenging times.

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Head Start Disabilities Services Newsletter: Tips for Families [PDF, 703KB]

Use these resources to support families whose children have special needs. Taken from the Head Start Disabilities Services Newsletter, these materials offer tips for parents on a number of disabilities issues for children ages birth to five. Topics include parent education, setting predictable routines, and autism.

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Engaging Teen Parents: Lessons from Teens about What Works for Them

Learn directly from teen parents about their experiences partnering with Early Head Start staff. Discover ways to engage teens in nurturing their children's learning and development in the context of the PFCE Framework.

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Prenatal Brain Development: Nurturing Babies in a Healthy Environment

Brain development starts at conception. The emotional and physical well-being of both parents are critical for a baby's healthy brain. In working with expectant families, Early Head Start staff can influence brain development and relationships at a crucial time. Watch this webcast for ways to impact long-term health and learning from the very beginning.

Community Partnerships

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Family and Community Partnerships for School Readiness

Watch this video for strategies that Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc. in Dunkirk, NY uses to promote school readiness. The program works with families, schools, and local programs to prepare children for school. Services support family well-being, leadership and advocacy skills, and the transition to new environments.

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Engaging Families in the Transition to Kindergarten

See how a Laguna, NM Head Start program prepares children and families for the transition to kindergarten. Strong partnerships between families, programs, and schools lead to greater success for children. Find specific strategies that support children and families during this important transition.

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Family Engagement in Transitions: Transition to Kindergarten [PDF, 1.7MB]

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. This resource will help Head Start and Early Head Start staff better understand the impact the transition to kindergarten has on children and families. Find examples of successful program practices.

Also available in Spanish (español) [PDF, 321KB].

For more school readiness resources, see the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning and the Early Head Start National Resource Center. For more Parent, Family, and Community Engagement resources and tools, visit PFCE Resources and Guides.

Last Reviewed: August 2015

Last Updated: October 27, 2016