Working with families inventory


  Ways I already Support Families New ways I can Support Families

Families have opportunities to continually express preferences, beliefs, values, and concerns regarding the practices of the child-care and education center (for example, routines, feeding, holding, naps, play, holidays, and language). The child care staff is responsive to families requests.



Ask each parent about their specific requests. Writes those down for each child.

Tries best to follow each parent’s request

Continue to ask parents monthly if any of their concerns or routines have changed. If so, change it in the child’s folders and implement each one as the parent’s request.

There is a process for communicating with parents who speak a different language from the caregivers. If necessary, there is an interpreter to assist in communication with children and/or families

Have learned to cooperate with them and listen carefully. Continue to be sensitive and understanding based on the language barrier.

Attempt to understand them better by listening carefully and maybe even studying some of the language.


Teachers ask families to share information indicating their and their child’s needs, interests, developmental history, and any other relevant information that will help teachers be more responsive to the child’s individual needs.


Take specific inventory of the child’s needs and interests.

Create lists for each child to help organize their interests and needs.

Work with each child to gain access to their interests. Help them implement them in the classroom and give them the opportunity to learn new things as well. Maybe even combine interests so they can discover new things.

Teachers listen to and respect parents discussions regarding their beliefs, values, and concerns.


Work with families to understand their beliefs, values, and concerns.

Talk to them about these things so they feel valued and understood.

Have parents and family members come in weekly or monthly to discuss any concerns.

Families wishes for their child are respected to provide continuity from home to program for the child—unless harmful to child

Asks and takes an inventory of what is done at home in order to provide continued learning. Spend time with the children and implement the specific requests throughout the day.

There is a process developed in the program with families concerning conflict resolution using dialogue that involves listening, negotiating, and problem-solving


Have taught children to get along and when they have problems with each other to sit down, listen to each other and try to work things out by talking.

Instilled a sense of learning and problem solving by communicating.

Inform the parents of the program and ask them to continue it in the homes.

Work with the children to help them understand the importance of the aspects of listening, negotiating, and problem-solving.


Photographs of each child’s family are displayed around the child-care and education space and are placed where children can easily see them. They may be laminated and secured with Velcro to

the wall so that an infant or toddler can hold the picture of his family and carry it around. Or, the children’s family photos could be displayed on a large poster board with a piece of fabric over each picture, so that mobile infants and toddlers can play “peek-a-boo” with their own and others family pictures.


Have developed a bulletin board where the children’s family members are posted. Each child is able to pull the laminated picture out of its slot on the board when needed or wanted. Continue to encourage the children to be able to take the pictures down so they feel close to those family members throughout the day if need be. Let them know it is okay to play with the photos and engage in interaction with them.

Books or photograph albums with pictures of the children and their families are available to the children.


Allowed children to bring photos of themselves and families to display in an album. Continue to take photos of children and their families throughout the year.

Tape recordings of a family member telling

a story or singing a song are available.


Have informed family members of this project and encouraged them to bring them in. Put aside time for each student to listen to the recordings during each day.


Family members are made to feel welcome in the program through teachers welcoming attitudes and through the classroom environment.


I allow families to interact and speak with me and other teachers and always have an upbeat attitude towards my job and the students. Continue to make the parents feel welcome and appreciated.

Always remember that my attitude and work ethic are important to the parents and to the students. Continue to work on being a positive influence on the children.


There is an open-door policy for families. They can be with their children at all times of the day and for as long as they’d like. Family members are frequently seen visiting and interacting with the children.


I let families come and go as they please, allowing them time with their children whenever they would like. Send home newsletters reassuring parents that they are encouraged to come and spend time with their children whenever they would like.

There is family-friendly bulletin board that describes opportunities for families to visit and volunteer and that includes notices and announcements.


I have kept track of the board, posting new material and informing the parents of the opportunities. Continue to keep the board up to date with new events, volunteer opportunities, and notices. Also, seek feedback from parents to see if there is anything else they would like to see.

There is a private area for family members who want to give their child a bottle or breastfeed their babies or spend some moments alone with their children.


I allow families to go to a secluded area to be with their children to do what they need or want. Develop a specific area for the families to go specifically to do the following with privacy.

There is a “family information” space (filing box or cabinet, for example) with information on resources, discipline, reading to children, etc. where parents can add to it or help themselves to articles, pamphlets, brochures that build family/child relationships.


Have provided this for the family members and encourage them to use it and make suggests to better it. Continuously create pamphlets, brochures and other articles to help the families communicate, interact, and help each other. Make this a very important aspect of the classroom so that the child and the parents know that we care about their well-being.
Families feel welcome to be involved in the program. While certain strategies will fit one type of program more than another as well as one type of family more than another, the important factor is the feeling of partnership between the program and the child’s family that is created. These are

opportunities offered families but not required of families


Send out newsletters to let families become aware of ways in which they can be involved. These newsletters will inform the parents and give them the opportunity to be a part of the classroom environment if they so choose.  Set up specific days for programs for different ethnic backgrounds and specific days for program based interactions. That way, each family has a chance to be involved in the activities that they wish to participate in rather than having to participate in all of them.

Survey families concerning the different ways that they would like to be involved.


Have sent surveys out to each family for their feedback. After receiving surveys back, implement some or all of their ideas and continue open communication.

Include families in policy decisions by inviting families to serve on a board of directors or policy council for the program.


Have started the process and am still in the beginning stages of planning and development. Start a board of directors or committee where parents can be involved and participate in this by semester or annually.

Plan social events, with family input, that include the whole family.


Have sent home surveys for families to fill out in order to get their opinions on events. Set up events at the school and places in the community where the students, parents, and teachers can interact.

Invite families into the program to take pictures of children or record language samples that can then, for example, be made into a display of children’s interests and learning.


Allow and encourage the children’s different ethnic backgrounds and cultures to be displayed in the classroom. Schedule different cultural or ethnic events throughout the year for families and children to learn about each other.
Develop a sense of community by including family members in the planning and writing of a monthly newsletter that includes interesting information about the program, monthly events, children, and families.


Have started this and invited families to participate. Get more involved with the families.

Set up meetings to go over newsletter information, and encourage the families to be a part of the newsletter process.



Provide opportunities for family members to help at home by making home-made toys (sock puppets, “feely boxes,” beanbags, lotto games) for the program.


I encourage the families by letting them know of the programs we have going on and what they can do to help if they would like. Send out reminders of the program activities going on for that week or that month and continue to encourage them to help out at home and make a contribution to the classroom so the children have new things to do.

Develop a system for daily exchange of information between families and child care and education staff.


Have developed a take-home report of the child’s activities, behavior and other important information regarding the child. As the children progress in specific areas or activities, update the report so that the parents are aware of the child’s progress.

Create a friendly place inside the child care and education center room or family child-care home where information concerning a child’s needs for the day can be written and shared by the family member with the caregiver.


Created a specific room where these activities can take place. Have each parent or family member speak to the caregiver in the this room before taking the child for the day (if they choose to do so).

Create a friendly place inside the child-care-center room or family child-care home where information about each child’s day is kept so that families can easily pick up the information and

talk to caregiver(s) about how the day went.


Have created the take home report for the family member Set up a place in the center for the parents to sit down with the caregiver to go over the report that is brought home with every student at the end of the day.

Develop a friendly “Conversation Corner” somewhere in the center or family child care home so that caregivers and families can have a private place to talk.


The caregiver office is the perfect place to do this and we utilize that office for this specifically. Encourage parents to speak with the caregivers about their children, their progress, and anything else that may be essential for their child’s learning in this office.

(Adapted from Wittmer & Petersen, 2006)