How Child Care Providers Can Partner with Families to Support Learning


Foster connections among the school community. There is a certain feeling that you get when you walk into a learning environment that values relationships: friendly hellos are exchanged, parents and caregivers are pulled into classroom activities, and a nurturing, family-like environment welcomes all who enter. Connections with and among students, teachers, and families form the foundation of this kind of warm, dynamic school community. These relationships build a mutually supportive network where all members feel connected and invested, helping to foster student learning within the classroom and beyond the school doors. 

  • In order to build this type of atmosphere, you might consider making phone calls early in the school year to introduce yourself and to establish a personal connection with each family. 

  • Throughout the year, be sure to make time for both casual interactions at drop-off and pick-up as well as time for more thoughtful conversations. 

  • Create opportunities for families to connect with one another either with the exchange of contact information or by hosting seasonal events. 


Establish two-way communication channels to share information with families and invite family input and perspective. Everyone is better off when schools and families work as a partnership. When educators create open communication channels, families are more connected to the school community. And, teachers can learn a lot from their students’ parents and families. Parents and caregivers have many insights about their children that can help to inform the best approach to teaching and learning for their child. Creating opportunities to hear from and get to know families and valuing parent input can have tremendous benefits. Partnering with families allows teachers to create a learning environment that is safe, comfortable, and supportive.

  • Utilize multiple modalities for communication. Communicate clearly and include visuals and pictures to most effectively connect with families. Consider utilizing a mobile family engagement app. 

  • At the beginning of the school year, provide opportunities for your students’ families to share information about their child. You might ask them to write a note or email conveying anything they want you to know about their child, or you might offer some open-ended questions for families to answer. 

  • During the school year, welcome families to share time, talent, and treasures with your class. These types of opportunities help to bridge the home and school. 


Empower families to support independence and learning at home. As an educator, it is productive to both teach the students in the classroom and educate parents and family members about what they can do to support learning at home. This is especially true with our youngest learners as many of those parents are brand new to each stage of development. Help to convey to parents developmentally appropriate tasks, behaviors, and skills they can practice and encourage at home. This is empowering for both parents and children and will lead to greater independence in the classroom. Further, sharing information with families about academic lessons and activities from the classroom allows families to reinforce concepts and skills at home. 

  • Regularly share what students do throughout their day. At many childcare centers, young students hang up their own coats and backpacks, pour water into cups at snacktime, and clean up their play areas. Share these expectations with families, accompanied by any tips or strategies to help children be successful in these tasks. Explain that practicing these skills may be a bit messy, but is important for long-term growth and development. 

  • Find creative ways to share teaching tips with parents so they can support learning at home. You might send out a video to model different teaching behaviors or include time during family events to share tips and ideas. 

  • Educate parents on best practices for reading with their children. You might suggest that they embed conversations about the cover, pictures, and story while reading. You might encourage them to talk about how characters feel during the story and whether they can relate to the characters. 

  • Invite families to use ordinary objects and experiences to support their children’s learning and growth. You might talk about how everyday objects can become counting manipulatives or how they can build math concepts by having their children help sort the laundry. You might point out that ordinary experiences like going to the grocery store can be the perfect place for oral language development as they name and describe each fruit and vegetable in the produce section.