Our Approach

Centering Parent Engagement

Early childhood systems have excluded parents for too long. Yet, research and experience demonstrate that parents engaged in their children’s education result in better academic, social, and health outcomes for children and their families. Early childhood collaborations should be centering parent engagement too.

Systems that engage, listen to, and act on parent input can address systemic problems. We believe that parents should be the most prioritized voice in collaborations work.

How We Define Engagement

Parent engagement in early childhood collaborations is both a process and an outcome.

  • As a process – Parent engagement is how parents inform and influence the collaboration’s priorities, strategies, and decision-making. It requires intentional effort for the collaboration to provide the opportunity and support parents need to participate.
  • As an outcome – Ideal parent engagement is successful when parents and collaboration members build effective partnerships and share responsibility, expertise, and/or leadership in the collaboration and its work.

Centering Parent Engagement is a Journey

We understand that developing parent engagement structures is a journey that evolves with each unique collaboration and community. That’s why our resources, including the handbook and online courses, are just starting points. They are part of a broader, ongoing effort to develop effective early childhood systems that genuinely work towards equitable outcomes for all children and their families.

Our theory of change centers on the belief that active, informed parental participation leads to more effective early childhood collaborations. This also results in a more equitable early childhood system. Our approach is not just about giving parents a voice but ensuring that voice shapes and steers the direction of community systems’ work.

Family Engagement Handbook

Our team created a handbook entitled Engaging Parents In Early Childhood Collaborations in response to early childhood collaborations’ need for additional support in this area.

More Resources

Access our tool kits and on-demand learning courses to gain a deeper understanding of the role of family engagement in community systems development.

Explore toolkits

Browse on Demand-Learning courses