CLI’s focus for family engagement includes supporting families in better understanding children’s development and engaging in fun, developmentally appropriate home-based activities that not only build skills but strengthen the bonds between family members. Our resources fall under four broad categories:
This checklist compiles all of the strategies in CLI’s family engagement program for infant-toddler teachers. The checklist can be used to self-assess where you are in your family engagement efforts and to set goals for practicing new strategies.
Click the tabs below to explore resources for these topics!
For specialists who work with programs that also serve preschool-age children, we recommend viewing our full family engagement toolkit, available here.
Building positive relationships and connecting regularly with families is the foundation of all family engagement efforts. Without these positive relationships, teachers and parents may struggle to partner together successfully to support children’s learning. Despite this, most teachers are not formally trained in techniques to build relationships with parents, especially families who come from different cultural backgrounds. These skills may come naturally to some teachers, and they may require more training and practice for others. Nonetheless, exposure to tips and information in this area can help all teachers shift from working for families to working with families.
This is a quick reference guide for strategies that build positive working relationships with families. These strategies are discussed in more depth in the Partnering with Families professional learning session (coming soon!).
There is a substantial research base that concludes play-based learning, in combination with responsive interactions, is the best way to build academic and executive functioning skills in young children. CLI recommends encouraging families to engage in effective home-based learning that is grounded in play and responsive interactions. This approach has the added benefit of building the social and emotional bonds between young children and their parents, siblings, and other family members.
The CIRCLE Activity Collection: Family is a free web-based collection of activities designed specifically for families to support children’s development and school readiness skills from birth through kindergarten. Activities target seven learning domains: Language and Communication, Reading & Writing, Math, Science, Social & Emotional, Physical Development, and Art and Sensory. The majority of activities use everyday materials that can be found in most households, are in both English and Spanish, and many include video examples to help parents get started.
The Parent Introduction Letter is designed to help parents learn about the CIRCLE Activity Collection: Family. The letter includes information from research regarding the benefits of play. It also invites parents to partner with their child’s teacher by engaging in activities from the collection that support child development through play. The letter is in editable format so teachers can easily make changes and adapt it to their specific needs. The download below includes both English and Spanish versions.
Use this simple Family Lesson Form to share individualized activities with families to practice each week. The form is fillable and dual-language (English/Spanish). Use the notes column to provide more detailed explanations on the purpose of the activity, how to engage in it, and why it might be helpful for the child.
PALS Spotlights highlight key concepts from the research-based Play and Learning Strategies program, which helps parents interact with their infants, toddlers, and three-year-olds in responsive, stimulating ways that support their social-emotional, cognitive, and language development. The videos show how to use these strategies throughout the day, during play and daily routines.
Parents and guardians should be regularly informed of how their children are progressing and provided concrete ways they can support their children in key learning areas. Early care providers and teachers have a unique opportunity to partner with families in keeping infants and toddlers on a healthy path to development, especially when a child may be experiencing developmental delays. Tools like developmental milestone checklists help track a child’s development over time from both a teacher and parent perspective. CLI has provided additional resources, such as roadmaps and a video series, designed to help providers and parents act upon developmental concerns they observe in children in their care.
These milestone checklists can be used by parents and teachers of children from birth to 48 months of age. They are divided into age ranges and areas of development: Language, Social-Emotional, Cognitive, Early Literacy, Physical Health & Motor Development.
This roadmap is designed to support families in tracking their children’s development and taking next steps if they have concerns.
This video series helps professionals and families learn about developmental milestones, developmental screening tools, and Early Childhood Intervention services for families and their children with developmental delays or disabilities.
Parents and teachers can use this tool together to prioritize learning areas for children’s targeted support and to create an action plan for activities both at home and the early learning center.
Parents are their child’s first and most important teacher. However, some parents are uncertain or lack confidence in their role as their child’s primary teacher. Hosting planned, playful, and purposeful family events are an excellent way to prepare parents to be successful home educators and engage as partners in their child’s educational support team. This type of active family engagement has been shown to positively impact student achievement levels and educational aspirations.
Supporting Sprouts is a series of presentations that can be delivered at family events to increase parent understanding of specific developmental areas important for infants and toddlers. The presentations can be downloaded in PowerPoint format using the links below. Please give these files several minutes to download, as they include multiple videos.