Today’s tip is pulled from NAEYC’s publication Teaching Young Children that you receive if you are a member of NAEYC. They pulled together a bunch of tips to encourage a family friendly environment for your centers from Holly Elissa Bruno, What You Need to Lead an Early Childhood Program: Emotional Intelligence in Practice which NAEYC sells online in their store.
Here are 10 of the many practices in the book:
1. Form parent advisory groups to allow parents to share new ideas and common concerns. Parent advisories can also advise the director on questions about how the program is doing.
2. Invite speakers to share topics of interest to parents. Popular topics include discipline, ADHD, toileting, what to expect at different stages of development, and activities to do with children at home.
3. Provide opportunities for parents to use their strengths to assist the program. Reading stories, raising money, and participating in cleanup days are all activities that contribute to program quality.
4. Post colorful bulletin boards for families to share information with one another.
5. Offer “Parents’ Night Out” events, in which programs stay open late on Friday evenings to allow parents time together without the children.
6. Feature yoga and exercise classes on site for parents and children.
7. Provide spa treatments, offered without cost by local massage therapists and cosmetologists, to rejuvenate parents and alleviate parental stress.
8. Provide a family lending library of DVDs, books, games, and resource materials.
9. Provide additional staffing for the end of the day to enable families and teachers to talk while the additional staff members care for the children.
10. Plan family recognition dinners and events with food, transportation, and child care provided to celebrate the families in the program.
I thought these were some really fun ideas to easily encourage and foster more participation from your families, what do you think?