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Forming Relationships With Families

Forming Relationships With Families


Educators / Professional Development (3 – 5 YEARS) / Involving Families

Including Families in the Process
View additional Professional Development Videos.
Create Connections with Families
Assist Families Extend your knowledge
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Resources (PDFs) (PDFs)
Build Relationships with Families through Vocabulary
Read the text below before watching this video. Watch the video from beginning to end as directed.


When educators and families collaborate, a child’s social, emotional, cognitive, and academic development is enhanced. When a child observes a positive relationship between educators and family, they recognize that the important people in their life cooperate and trust one another. They will do the same. This collaboration also lays the groundwork for effective communication about children’s learning. Interactions between educators and families should be positive, purposeful, reciprocal, and consistent with fostering family involvement.
Communicate frequently with family members. When educators and families communicate effectively, learning becomes collaborative, accomplishments are recognized, problems are identified, and solutions are provided.
Communicate both the positive and negative aspects. If all behaviors are reported, families will better understand their child’s behaviors and accomplishments (not only those that are negative or challenging).
Encourage two-way communication. It is just as important for the educator to know what the child is doing at home as for the parent or caregiver to understand what the child is doing in the early learning program. Discuss what children are learning and how parents and caregivers can help. Inquire families about their children’s academic and social development outside the program.
Use a variety of communication channels. Maintain an open line of communication. Engage families in person at drop-off and pick-up, maintain a journal for each child that families can read and contribute to, establish a Parent Information Board, write regular newsletters or blog posts, and send emails or text messages.
Recognize each family’s expectations and viewpoints on their involvement. What parents and caregivers consider to be family engagement varies by family. In some cultures, for example, families believe that the most respectful way to treat an educator is not to question, suggest, or share information. Be explicit about the level of involvement you expect and welcome from families, but also respect the boundaries that families may wish to maintain.
Approach the relationship with consideration. Treat the educator-family relationship the same way you would any other important relationship in your life. Work to establish a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship in which families feel valued and supported.
In this video, educators demonstrate various strategies for developing strong relationships with families. As you watch, look for effective techniques used by the educators in the video and record your responses in your Learning Log.

How do educators keep parents updated on their child’s progress and activities?
How do educators interact with families?

Why is it critical that you form relationships with families?

Families and educators each have unique insights into a child.
Outside the formal learning environment, a parent or caregiver can share information with educators about how the child feels, thinks, and learns.
An educator can provide insight into how the child learns and behaves in group and individual settings.
Strong relationships between educators and families can improve the emotional health of children. They demonstrate to children that they can put their trust in the adults in their lives because those adults trust one another.
Academic growth in children benefits from instructional coherence (when the learning in the program is supported by the teaching at home and vice-versa).
Respectful relationships between educators and families show children how to form positive relationships with others.
What effective methods for communicating information about what children are doing and learning?
Forming Relationships With Families
Please set up a Parent Information Board in the drop-off and pick-up area to post learning objectives, key vocabulary words, and explicit examples of ways parents can reinforce their children’s learning. As an example, We read a book about scientists today. We discovered how scientists observe, touch, smell, listen to, and learn about their surroundings. Ask your child to look, feel, smell, and hear as they pretend to be scientists on the way home.
Use blogs, newsletters, text messages, and social media pages to keep families informed about learning, share photos, and encourage families to share home experiences with educators.
Maintain a journal for each child. Educators can create weekly entries for each child, highlighting a new project, learning, challenge, or development. Members of the family can read and contribute to the journal.

As you answer these reflection questions in your Learning Log, consider the learning environment at your program.

How do you foster cooperative and positive relationships with families?
What did you discover that you will apply in your learning environment?
What are potential barriers to forming an effective relationship with families? What, if any, might be potential conflicts of interest?

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