This course will deepen your understanding of family-centered practice and your role in creating a respectful climate for families and program staff. You will learn about responsive practices that reflect family diversity and how to help staff develop positive communication skills. This course will suggest leadership practices that use a strengths-based approach to support staff in their work with families of children with special needs, military families, and families facing challenges.
Families: An Introduction
Your program is more than a place where families leave their children while they are working. Your program supports family well-being. You not only impact individual family members but the overall functioning of the family as well. You are responsible for creating an environment where families are respected and where they have access to the information, services, and supports they need to fulfill their roles as the most important people in their children’s lives. This lesson will define the term “family,” describe the importance of families in your programs, and define family-centered practice. This lesson also describes the role you have in creating a climate that promotes respect for families among all program staff.
Promoting Family Engagement
As part of guiding staff members toward including and involving families, you will need to provide information about family engagement. Successful child development and school-age programs depend on relationships and collaborations with children’s families and communities. For this reason, it is critical to establish positive partnerships with children’s families and to include families in your programs. This lesson will help you identify ways to help staff members establish and maintain positive relationships with children’s families.
Promoting Family Engagement: Communicating With Families
A strong partnership between staff and families is built on good communication. Good communication skills help ensure that accurate information is shared, expectations are understood, and trust is established. Your role is to help staff members develop good communication skills, which are especially important when issues arise. Your success as a manager is inextricably linked to the relationships you and your staff develop, support, and sustain. Mutually beneficial relationships promote family engagement, which leads to positive outcomes for everyone.
Working With Families of Children With Special Needs
Just like families of children who are developing typically, families of children with special needs have dreams, hopes, and concerns about their children. This lesson will highlight the ways in which you can play a significant role in supporting staff members as they support families of children with special needs. It will provide recommendations for effective collaboration with these families.
When you provide families opportunities to learn, to get involved, and to make decisions, you are strengthening their skills as parents and problem solvers. A strengths-based approach makes families more resourceful in dealing with stress and more adept at handling future challenges. A strengths-based approach gives families the skills they need today to be successful tomorrow.
Strengthening and Supporting Military Families and Families Facing Challenges
Your program plays a critical role in supporting families. When your program anticipates families’ needs and connects them to resources, you support them emotionally, socially, developmentally, physically and financially. Connection to a comprehensive system of concrete supports promotes family well-being, which in turn leads to family well-doing.