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Mel Gravely

Video: End Your Struggles with Parent Engagement through Effective Communication

Are you having difficulty engaging families? Are you spinning your wheels trying to get parents engaged? Need some strategies to help improve your engagement with families?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, we encourage you to watch this video from The Gravely Group CEO, Mel Gravely, as he explains four ways to use more effective communication techniques to aid in parent engagement.

According to the 2007 Head Start Act, staff must build a partnership with parents. This is fundamental to children’s current and future success for their school readiness. This relationship ensures success when staff understands the value of information and how to share such information effectively. A strong partnership between families and Head Start staff is essential to promoting healthy childhood development and positive learning outcomes.

Strong relationships are rooted in trust, which you can build by being genuine and sincere about families, their goals, and supporting parents as they work towards those goals.

Let’s talk about four strategies to use when communicating with parents.

The Child’s Behavior

When talking about the child’s behavior, use positive descriptions. Be specific, be clear, and be objective. Avoid interpreting, judging, or giving advice.

Listen Actively

Summarize what the family says and repeat it back in your own words. This shows the family you hear and understand what’s important to them. Accept parents’ emotions, both positive and negative. Avoid interrupting with an agenda of questions. This establishes you as supportive and non-judgmental.

Encourage Sharing

Remember, parents are the real experts on their child. Invite parents to share their perspective on the child’s behavior and development. Use open-ended questions to open communication. Use parent’s input to enlighten your decisions about the child and the family.

Support Parent Competence

Encourage and support the parents for their strengths. Attribute the child’s progress to parents’ efforts. Recognize and acknowledge parents’ trials and errors.

We believe through training, program staff can master strategies for sharing information that will strengthen partnerships with families and improve children’s outcomes.


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