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Mel Gravely

Using Training as a Means to Increase Parent Involvement

Parent Participation is Essential

The skill to manage ideas and motivate people to action is perhaps the most critical asset to any Head Start program. As we know, parent participation is essential to successful program outcomes, however, it’s not always easy to get parents involved. That’s why upfront and ongoing training, especially when it relates to policy council, is critical in making sure that programs can get the most from their parents.

First and foremost, keep in mind that when a parent agrees to be a part of your policy council, this may be the first time that person has volunteered in an official capacity such as this. Teaching parents how to express themselves clearly, summarize ideas, and listen to others’ suggestions takes practice, so giving them plenty of support is key.

Moreover, humans naturally crave structure and order. If your policy council meetings are in disarray from the beginning, parents are much less likely to stay engaged over the long term.

When training parents as members of a policy council, programs should use the Head Start Performance Standards as a resource. From the beginning, parents needs to learn their role in the overall structure and goals of the organization as laid out by the Performance Standards.

In addition, policy council members need to be taught the dos and don’ts of effectively conducting meetings using Robert’s Rule of Order. This includes tasks such as how to organize and prepare for a meeting, creating a meeting agenda, recording minutes, and making a motion.

But before you can even train the policy council, you need to train your Governing Board. You’d be shocked at how many board members are unaware of the basic rules of running a meeting. Everyone in the organization should be on the same page when it comes to how to properly structure, organize, and conduct the business of a group in a formal setting such as board meeting.

Whether your objective is to progress your Board toward more strategic thinking, or increase parent engagement, it is essential that you understand how to hold an effective meeting. Two of our signatures trainings work hand-in-hand when it comes to the objective of parent involvement: Conducting Effective Meetings and Parent Leadership. Contact The Gravely Group today to learn more about these trainings.


  1. Raquel Palacio says:

    I would like more information on the Parent Leadership training. Many of our Family Service Staff would love more tips and ideas on how to get parents involved. Thank you.

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