Updated: Aug 17, 2020
1. Strong family-program relationships begins with authentic engagement.
Take time to learn about each family’s culture, home language, or family composition
Recognize changes in family circumstances or community circumstances
Design a welcoming environment (table decorations, ice-breakers, music)
2. Respect the diverse family systems, dynamics, cultural and economic factors shape the lives of families.
Understand how and why we engage both Mothers, Fathers and other family members
Acknowledge real and perceived barriers that prevent family engagement
Connect with small groups by hosting Men-Only Gatherings, coffee for grandparents, study groups for teen parents
Target non-parental family members and caregivers
Create social capital and build a community of families
3. Relationship-based approaches should include communication strategies, reflective listening, perspective taking and cultural competency.
Communicate early and often
Use the means of communication preferred by the family
Be willing to reasonably accommodate their needs
Involve everyone in building relationships
Work with families by asking about their own learning needs.
4. Build positive, ongoing interactions and relationships with families and communities by ensuring your work reflects:
Respectful attitudes toward families
Authentic knowledge about families
Relationship-based partnerships with families
Cultural and linguistically responsiveness toward families
5. Develop your team, and develop partnerships to help you work alongside your families. Consider these essential questions when engaging families for their voice:
How might we work with diverse populations, and understand the unique needs of families from priority populations?
How does staff acknowledge diversity of families?
What unintended cultural barriers do you see for your families?
In what ways is our program family-focused?