Going Above and Beyond: Striving for High-Quality Family & Community Engagement in Early Care and Education
This focus group study of family and community engagement practices in center-based early childhood education programs in Illinois sought to:
- Describe diverse perspectives on promising practices and common challenges around working with families and communities in center-based programs
- Inform the state’s development of supports and resources for programs seeking to achieve ExceleRate Illinois’ Award of Excellence level in family and community engagement
The study had seven major recommendations for support and training around family and community engagement:
- Develop and widely distribute a set of resources describing promising family and community engagement practices that help to align existing standards in this domain of quality.
- Develop new resources and supports for programs around community engagement.
- Create new opportunities for early childhood education programs to net work, share ideas, and align promising practices around family and community engagement.
- Provide programs financial resources and other supports for family and community engagement efforts.
- Provide state-wide access to training and professional development opportunities focused on family and community engagement.
- Implement new documentation guidelines and strategies for reporting family and community engagement practices that align with the goals and objectives of ExceleRate and provide training to programs to ensure effective implementation.
- Revise policies and procedures regarding the child care assistance program in order to allow families greater continuity of care and to reduce the administrative burden on early childhood education programs’ work with families.