Parent Engagement Resources

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.

Engaging parents in early childhood collaborations is no exception. Equally important, early childhood systems that engage, listen to, and act on parent input are best positioned to address early childhood system problems. Parent engagement in community systems and policy work leads to early childhood programs and systems that work for all children and their families.

Community Systems Statewide Supports (CS3) at Illinois Action for Children (IAFC) created A Handbook for Community Engagement: Engaging Parents in Early Childhood Collaborations, and a parent engagement online course in response to early childhood collaborations identifying this as an area where they need additional support. This is only a starting point; there are many more resources out there whose usefulness will depend on where you, your collaboration, and your community are in this journey.

You will find the following resources to support parent engagement in the context of community systems development:

- The CS3 definition of parent engagement
- Parent engagement videos
- CS3 parent engagement theory of change
- CS3 parent engagement supports
- Additional parent engagement resources organized by type

Download the latest report: A Handbook for Community Engagement: Engaging Parents in Early Childhood Collaborations Fill out the form on the right and let us keep you informed of the latest information, strategies, and resources to aid you in your early childhood community systems development efforts.

CS3 Definition of Parent Engagement:

Parent Engagement – We define parent engagement in early childhood collaborations as both a process and an outcome.

As a process – Parent engagement is a process by which parents inform and influence the collaboration’s priorities, strategies, and decision-making. It requires an intentional effort by the collaboration to provide the opportunity and support that parents need to participate.

As an outcome – Ideal parent engagement is successfully achieved when parents and collaboration members build effective partnerships and share responsibility, expertise, and/or leadership in the collaboration and its work.

Parent Engagement Videos:

CS3 Parent Engagement Supports

  • On-demand learning – complete a learning experience at your own pace with the on-demand learning course featuring the following modules: 1) Create a Shared Understanding, 2) Strengthen Partnerships, and 3) Develop a Course of Action

  • On-demand consultation– access short-term, on-demand coaching with the CS3 team to support the creation and implementation of your parent engagement action plan.

CS3 Parent Engagement Theory of Change:

Additional Resources:

  • Resources on Community Cafés
    • World Cafe Resources
      • Free resources to guide you through the world café process. Taken together, they cover everything from the Café, physical set-up of the Café environment, creative application of the Café design principles, and much more.
    • Be Strong Families
      • Trainings and resources on facilitating parent cafes.