Maryland’s Early Childhood Family Engagement Framework outlines goals and strategies to support family engagement initiatives implemented by early care and education providers.
The purpose of the Family Engagement Framework is to:
- Recognize the importance of family engagement as a core component of early care and education
- Put forth a set of common goals for family engagement across the early childhood system and within individual early care and education providers
- Offer family engagement strategies for early care and education providers and identify resources that support the implementation of those strategies
Family engagement is a key part of high-quality early care and education. When done well, family engagement can support the healthy social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development of young children, regardless of their background. Similarly, families -- particularly those with limited income -- benefit from family engagement practices when you can:
- Link them to support in times of need
- Help build their peer networks
- Increase their understanding of child development
- Provide classes and training to enhance parenting practices and improve job skills
At the same time, research has shown that variables like poverty and low levels of parental education can have a negative impact on school readiness outcomes for children. Other family-related variables that can negatively impact school readiness include:
- Child hunger
- Maternal depression
- Abuse and neglect
- Family instability caused by divorce, military deployment
- Any termination in relationships or change in family dynamics.
These factors can either directly impact school readiness or give rise to other conditions -- like behavioral problems -- that then affect a child’s ability to meet key developmental and learning milestones.
Given the importance of family engagement for children’s school readiness (and life readiness), it’s essential that Maryland’s entire early childhood community works not only to promote family engagement in early care and education settings, but also to improve a child’s home environment when necessary.
This Framework provides you with goals and practical strategies to support family engagement throughout Maryland.
Download and read the Maryland’s Early Childhood Family Engagement Framework in its entirety here (PDF).