One of the important roles of early childhood professionals is to provide opportunities for families to gain more skills in the role of parents. We accomplish this by using various strategies that work for each of the families that we serve.
These strategies may include:
- Family workshops – we offer these workshops to families who may want to have more information about parenting. At the beginning of the school year, you can send a questionnaire home to inquire about what the families at your center may want to know more about in their role as parents. Facilitation of these workshops by center staff/administration, by other professionals who work closely with children and families, or professional family educators provide a diverse lens in which to support families in their quest for support and information.
- Meeting with families – families often parent in isolation and need support in their role as parents. The teacher can offer to meet with them to listen to their concerns and to share ideas with them. This is accomplished in the context of understanding, compassion, and respect for the role that families play.
- Support groups for families - You may want to consider providing opportunities for parents to provide support to each other. You can accomplish this by creating a space for parents to meet both formally and informally. This helps to engender agency in families and to create parent leaders.
- Newsletters – provide families with parenting resources in a newsletter. You can write articles about specific parenting topics that the families at the center have identified. You can provide links to reputable parenting sites.
- Providing community resources to families – the Code of Ethical Conduct speaks directly to this. In I-2.9 it says: To foster families’ efforts to build support networks and, when needed, participate in building networks for families by providing them opportunities to interact with program staff, other families, community resources, and professional services. P-2.15 states – We shall be familiar with and appropriately refer families to community resources and professional support services. After a referral has been made, we shall follow up and ensure that services have been appropriately provided. 
- Resource library – provide families with materials that they can check out. These resources could be parenting books, parenting articles, or parenting curriculum.
Pause to Reflect
These are just a few of the many ways we can provide families with education and support that can assist them in their parenting journey. In reviewing this section, what additional ideas do you have that excite you in educating parents?