“Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I’ll remember. Involve me and I’ll understand.”
Family Engagement with Engage
Through shared information, teachers can gain critical insights from parents on their child’s interests, skills, and abilities as well as unique behaviors and dispositions. Teachers can in turn share valuable learning experiences with parents for continued and partnered support of their child’s learning.
Research suggests that family involvement in education can boost young children’s academic success (Evangelou, M. & Sylva, K., 2003). Involvement may also lead to better schools, contribute to higher standards, and provide lasting opportunities for students (Machen, S. M., Wilson, J. D., & Notar, C. E., 2005).
In practice, family involvement may be demonstrated through participation in a hierarchy of activities such as:
- Volunteering at school
- Helping children with their homework
- Attending school functions
- Visiting the child’s classroom
- Sharing expertise or experience with the class through guest speaking
- Taking on leadership roles in the school and participating in the decision-making process
These practices get parents involved in their student’s school, but what creates change or lasting effect? Engagement does!
Families become engaged in positive relationships that prepare children for success in school and in life when parents:
- Share their knowledge about their child and family
- Spend time in the classroom to play and learn with their child
- Share experiences from the home
Both parents and teachers have an important role to play. Their roles do not replace but rather complement and reinforce the other’s role, thus providing the student with a consistent message about reading and learning. Thinking of parents and teachers as “partners” refers to this mutual effort toward a shared goal. It also implies shared responsibility of parents and teachers for supporting students as learners (Christenson & Sheridan, 2001).
When family members take the lead and make decisions about their children’s learning, they are truly engaged. Positive goal-directed relationships between families and program staff are key to engagement and children’s school readiness.
The CLI Engage platform was designed to benefit a multitude of users including families! Through the platform parents have access to activities that support their child’s learning in the classroom. Activities are freely available to the public on the CLI Engage website under the Family CIRCLE Activity Collection.
Below is an example of what parents may see when they open an activity. Available in English or Spanish, parents can access a large array of completely scripted activities. Many include a short documentary video with real parents demonstrating the activity with their own child. These serve as a model for parents who want to know more about how to support their child’s learning at home.
Teachers can partner with parents to promote practice of specific activities tied to the child’s classroom instruction. Teachers using the prekindergarten CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System or the Texas Kindergarten Entry Assessment can share student scores with families by printing reports for parents or by providing a personalized identification number (PIN) for families to view results online. These parent reports include suggested activities for parents based on results from the progress monitoring tools. Additionally, teachers will find paired activities in the small grouping tool that can be sent directly to parents with email addresses. Teachers can select activities to be used at home involving parents in supporting their child’s learning.
Family Feedback Forms
Families are valuable sources of information on children’s skill development. Observable feedback forms are available to share with parents to obtain valuable contributing information on their child’s growth and development in key school readiness areas. Feedback forms can be downloaded in English or Spanish from CLI Engage. These forms align with the learning domains of the CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System and the Texas Kindergarten Entry Assessment and can be used in children’s portfolios and at parent-teacher conferences to provide a full picture of children’s development.
Developmental Resources for Families
There are many tools available on CLI Engage to help parents actively learn about their child’s growth and development, as well as resources for parents who have developmental concerns about their child. Learning about developmental milestones helps parents understand what young children typically know and are able to do at different ages. While every child is an individual, milestones checklists allow parents to see how their child’s skills compare to typical growth and development, and become aware of possible delays. Check out our Understanding Developmental Screening and Early Intervention video series to learn about developmental milestones, developmental screening tools, and Early Childhood Intervention services for families and their children (birth to 5) with developmental concerns, delays or disabilities.
Add and update email addresses for parents in CLI Engage. By doing this you can quickly share interesting and helpful student information with parents, getting them more engaged in their child’s learning. Simply review the Add and Update Parent Email Addresses instructions to learn how.
Introduce parents to the free library of family activities available on CLI Engage and encourage their exploration and use. It is easy for parents and guardians to create their own accounts. Just provide them with the How to Access the Family CIRCLE Activity Collection link, which briefly explains the benefit to families and allows recipients the opportunity to create a parent account.
Share student results with parents to educate them on their child’s development. CLI Engage has two parent reports features that make sharing results easy and create opportunities for parents to further support skill development at home. To learn more about these features refer to Printing Parent Reports for sending information home and Printing Parent PIN Pages for online viewing.