Rationale: The most important influences on children are their families and their home environments. Therefore, family involvement is an integral part of quality early childhood programs. Family involvement improves the program for the child, benefits both the staff and the program, and enhances parenting skills.
Today's families are diverse. The family involvement/education program must be based on an acceptance of such diversity, including an awareness of individual families' differing values, structures, needs, and aspirations.
Quality programs recognize that parenting is a developmental process. They provide assistance to parents through resources and information based on the recognition that all families have primary responsibility for their own children.
Outcomes: Families are respected as primary decision makers for their children. They receive family-focused, culturally sensitive services.
Standard 1: Families are recognized as primary participants in the care and education of their children and are respected as their children's first teachers.
Indicator 1. Communication with families about their child's learning experiences, needs, and progress is reciprocal and ongoing.
Indicator 2. Families receive information designed to enhance their skills as their child's principal educator through participation in activities such as parenting workshops, adult literacy programs, toy-lending libraries, and play/support groups.
Indicator 3. Opportunities for family involvement and participation in planning and decision making are available through advisory councils, policy making roles, and parent meetings.
Indicator 4. Families are offered flexible options for participating in their child's learning experiences. Multiple opportunities are available for accessing activities and resources in a variety of settings.
Standard 2: Quality early childhood programs recognize the diversity of all families and value their strengths.
Indicator 1. The needs of families are addressed through diverse and flexible learning opportunities built on the family's strengths and differences.
Indicator 2. Families are respected and supported in their primary role in the learning process.
Indicator 3. The cultural and ethnic uniqueness of all families is respected.