While teachers are prepared to work with children, engaging with parents to support their child's learning requires skills and approaches that might not have been directly addressed in teacher education programs.
The Heising-Simons Foundation initiated the Family Engagement Impact Project to align early childhood programs, school districts, and community organizations in engaging families and teachers to support children’s learning. The project enhanced the capacity of communities, professionals, and parents to engage in children’s learning and improve educational outcomes for low-income immigrant children from birth through age 8. Funds were awarded to strengthen public-private partnerships, coordinate and integrate family engagement efforts across organizations, and leverage existing community resources. The project had three phases: planning, implementation, and sustainability. Mathematica Policy Research evaluated the implementation phase, which reached 478 teachers.
Drawing from the study, this brief outlines five lessons learned from the Family Engagement Impact Project about building teachers’ knowledge, skills, and confidence to engage families.