8 Ways To Engage Parents In Childcare

Teacher with young studentsWelcome to our center, we are happy you are here and can’t wait to learn more about you! This is the message you should be sending every time a family enters your child care program. Families are important, they are our partners in the development, education and well-being of their child.

Keeping parents engaged at your center is an indicator for center retention. Ask yourself: Are parents welcome in your childcare center and classroom? Do you value families individually for who they are? Do you value the opinions families share with you? Communication is key, from the first phone call inquiring about child care to the last day a child is enrolled in the program, everyone must be engaged for the good of the child.

We cannot know a child without knowing their family. Developing relationships with families will ensure that no matter the topic, the message you need to share will be received. Here are 8 easy way to engage parents in the classroom and childcare center.

  1. Send a welcome letter to the child and family before they start in your center or classroom.
  2. Send home a stuffed animal friend and a journal and have parents and children create a page in your classroom book about what they did when the animal friend was at their house. Everyone gets a page and the book will be bound and kept in your classroom library.
  3. Post a note on your classroom door “I Spy…” invite families and children to add to the list all week, then discuss the list during circle time. Share the final results with all families via an e-mail, a note sent home or in your classroom newsletter.
  4. Write thank you notes. This can be as simple as “Thank you for sharing (your child) with me. We have so much fun playing and learning every day!”
  5. Write a class poem. Start it with “I come from…” encourage families to add their line(s) to the poem. Then post the final poem in the classroom for all to enjoy. Ask families for a family picture to hang near the poem. If families do not have a picture, offer to take one for them.
  6. Invite families in to talk about themselves. The families in your classroom are a wealth of knowledge just waiting for you to recruit them.
  7. Communicate in many different ways. E-mail will not reach everyone, neither will printed newsletters or verbal discussions. Try to utilize a number of ways when you have an important message to share.
  8. Send home family homework over long weekends, family vacations or winter break. This will be something fun for the children to talk about when they get back to school.

Click here for additional strategies for supporting children and families.

Jaci Foged, Extension Educator | The Learning Child

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