Know your audience. Building Partnerships: A Guide to Developing Relationships with Families: Use this guide from the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement to increase your skills in partnering with families to support inclusion of children with special needs. The way family members view their child’s disability or other special need is also an important factor for child care providers when they are building relationships with families. (2007). It is easy for parents to pick up on attitudes, whether positive or negative. Here are five quick techniques that help to build strong relationships in a fast-paced culture. I once heard a school staff member say, "Families only come because we are feeding them." Stay connected! Macroaggressions are a real issue that needs to be dealt with and are unacceptable toward the children and families that are served through extended learning programs. Trust: Families need to trust that we have their child’s best interest at heart and that we want the same thing they want---the best for their child. To have trust though, you must build trust. In considering this diversity, it is helpful to be aware of your own values and beliefs as you engage with children and families (Raikes & Edwards, 2009). For example, a family may give reasons for a child’s disability or special need, based on their own cultural and family experiences. Ensure your presenters are upbeat, are able to relate, and are dynamic and energetic. Written by Dr. Kenneth Anthony, Connecticut Afterschool Network – NAA State Affiliate. 2020 How do I partner with early interventionists and families. The Family Engagement page of Head Start’s Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center website offers several resources for child care providers to help with the family engagement process including guides, webinars and videos. National AfterSchool Association, Building Capacity of Leaders of Color (BCLC) Initiative, Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards, SEL to the Core: Building from Foundational Youth Development to Support Social and Emotional Learning, Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/issue_57_Parent_Engagement.cfm, https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/guide.pdf, http://www.hfrp.org/publications-resources/, Report and Program to Address Inequity in Afterschool Leadership, KIT and NAA Partner to Support Disability Inclusion in Afterschool Programs. What responsive and respectful practices do I use with children with disabilities and their families? Like the families you work with, your own cultural background and experiences influence how you see, understand, and respond to experiences, including your experiences with children with disabilities and other special needs. The less emphasis you put on how different a family seems to you, the more you will get to know and connect with the family and build the relationship. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Proveedores de cuidado de bebés y niños pequeños, Planificación para bebés y niños pequeños. Family engagement has a life-long impact on the lives of children and comes in many forms. The time spent reflecting on our work, alone or with others, helps us think about the way we respond to children and families and allows us to explore our feelings about those experiences. Frequently, the direct service workers at an afterschool program may be older teenagers or college students. Invite them to visit and share an interesting hobby, skill or activity with the students and other parents. Even though our society is more progressive than it used to be, there are still many biases toward families who don't fit the traditional model. What thoughts and feelings do I have when I work closely with a family, or when I consider having conversations with families about a potential developmental need or assessment? As relationships between staff and families grow stronger, mutually respectful partnerships are built. ), Strengthening Partnerships to Support Babies with Special Needs. Some adults have a difficult time accepting non-traditional families based on their personal experiences, and many families perceive this bias. Head Start and Early Head Start Relationship-based Competencies: This resource from the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement can help you assess your relationship-based competencies and improve your interactions with families to best meet their goals. The way family members view their child’s disability or other special need is also an important factor for child care providers when they are building relationships with families. Building positive relationships with the families of the children in our care is incredibly rewarding. Communicating with families can give you great insights and help you be more responsive to each family’s needs (Garguilo & Kilgo, 2014). Remind parents that you have an open door policy and that they are welcome. Washington, DC: Zero to Three. The Family Partnerships Process: Engaging and Goal-Setting with Families: This document provides seven steps for setting and reaching goals with families to support their child’s development and learning. What approaches do I use to connect with families? Be respectful of their time. Brillante, P. (2017). It’s worth considering the ways your cultures, values, and beliefs might influence your interactions with children, particularly those with disabilities or other special needs. National Association for the Education of Young Children. This may seem daunting at times due to the demands of the current American family lifestyle, which not only include significant job and school responsibilities, but also involve jam-packed extracurricular schedules for all household members. A transcript of the video is available here: Family members have important information about their own children, and this information is valuable to anyone involved in a child’s care. Sample Inclusion Policy: Review this sample policy on inclusion, compare your program’s policy, and consider what information to add to it. Train your staff to identify macro-aggressions when they hear them and on methods for eliminating them. Sometimes child care providers are the first people to notice that a child may have special needs. People who are new to caring for a child with disabilities or other special needs probably have a lot of questions. My response always was, "I am happy they are coming because I really want to sit and eat with them." As professionals in the field of afterschool and expanded learning, it is important to remember that even though we may not see a child's family at school or a program, this does not mean they are not engaged in the lives of their children. Start on time, end on time. Parlakian, R. (2001). This is true for all children and is particularly important when an infant or toddler has a disability or other special need (Brillante, 2017; Cross, Traub, Hutter-Pishgahi, & Shelton, 2004). Garguilo, R. M., & Kilgo, J. L. (2014). Even if you are experienced with inclusive care, you may still have questions, since each infant and family is unique. Download the article, Building Relationships Article. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 24(3), 169–183. If you know that the parents you work with are from a specific community, hire a presenter with a similar background who can genuinely connect with those parents. National AfterSchool Association • 2961A Hunter Mill Road, #626 • Oakton, VA 22124 • info@naaweb.org, © Parents and guardians have a special understanding of their children’s unique qualities and characteristics, such as temperament, strengths, and interests. How do I communicate with families about children’s individual development, including strengths, interests, and progress? Positive communication and relationships with families help to build trust. Here are five quick techniques that help to build strong relationships in a fast-paced culture. Talking to Families of Infants and Toddlers about Developmental Delays. For example, “What are some ways we can help your baby feel more at home while here in our care?”. Reprinted from Young Children, January 2010. Be genuine when strengthening family connections. It is easy for parents to pick up on attitudes, whether positive or negative. That in mind, we Need to actively build strong engagement with families about children s! 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