Opportunities for Family Engagement in Early Childhood

(FS2001, Dec. 2020)

Supporting young children through family engagement opportunities is a key to healthy child development. Engage your child and pursue options to score success with family engagement!

Lead Author
Lead Author:
Sean Brotherson, Shea Lammers, Kim Bushaw
Web only
Publication Sections

What is family engagement?

Family engagement is when families, children and program staff work together to build positive relationships with goals in mind.

What kind of goals?

Many are possible, but the purpose for setting goals is to enhance the child’s development. Goals for the child are much easier to achieve when all players (for example, parents, teachers, care providers) are on the same page.

Possible Team Members: Teachers, Family, Referee (Early Childhood Best Practices), Grandparents, Caregivers (Child care), Early Childhood Community and Early Intervention and Public Health Partners.

Why start early?

From birth to age 5, a child’s brain develops more than at any their time in life. So, beginning active family engagement practices sooner rather than later can only help your child.

Game Plan:

  • Start a conversation with a caregiver, early childhood professional or educator
  • Find a way to communicate that works best for both of you.
  • Make a game plan for your child’s development with goals.
  • Work to make progress with your child – read, play, snuggle, learn.
  • Maintain open communication and build positive relationships.

Options to Score With Family Engagement

Community-based Options

  • Children’s drama or theater groups
  • City parks and recreation programs
  • Faith-linked parent groups (Mothers of Preschoolers, etc.)
  • Fitness or recreation centers, programs
  • Local art centers, museums, zoos
  • Informal networks of family, friends
  • Music education programs (Music Makers, etc.)
  • Preschool programs
  • Public library

Family and Community Support Organizations

  • Counseling centers
  • Early Intervention services
  • Early Head Start or Head Start programs
  • Home visiting programs (public health, etc.)
  • Hospital or health-care systems
  • Pregnancy and parenthood support services

Formal Educational Options

  • Family-based or center-based child care/preschool
  • Early Head Start or Head Start
  • Public or private schools (elementary)

Find opportunities in North Dakota near you: