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Ten tips for supporting PACT Time® in the classroom

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Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time® supports the strengthening of emotional bonds as parents and children work and play alongside one another. PACT Time in the classroom is an important way for parents to practice the skills and strategies they have learned while participating in Parent Time during family literacy programming. Through participation in classroom PACT Time, parents gain an understanding of how children develop and learn. Additionally, they gain insights into their own children’s strengths, interests, and needs.

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Maximize the classroom PACT Time experience for families with these tips for family literacy/learning program staff:

Planning and Preparation:

  • Before beginning PACT time, coordinate with the teachers to take parents on a “tour” of their children’s classrooms. Help parents develop an overall understanding of the classroom and the procedures of the program (daily schedule, lesson plans, communication usage i.e. cell phones & confidentiality, child/parent separation anxiety, for example). Understanding the classroom activities allows the parents to develop complementary activities at home.
  • For parents who are learning English as an additional language, you may need to provide specific vocabulary and language support around engaging in the child’s classroom and interacting with the teacher and students.

Experience:

  • PACT Time should occur on a routine schedule; four 30-minute periods, two one-hour periods or a single two-hour time period each week. Consider revising the schedule throughout the year to help parents experience different parts of the routine.
  • Classroom teachers should make sure parents are actively engaging with children during PACT Time. To further support parents, classroom teachers may communicate with parents to find out how PACT Time is going at home.
  • Communicate regularly with teachers to identify any concerns or issues that arise and address them immediately.
  • Classroom teachers are also a great source for Parent Time topic ideas.

Debrief and Transfer to Home, School, and the Community:

  • Debrief in a variety of ways; for example, debrief as a whole group or by holding smaller discussion groups by children’s ages or classroom groupings. Parents may also enjoy journaling about their PACT Time experiences.
  • During the debriefing process, talk with parents about what they observed, what their child enjoyed most, and any questions they might have about what they saw.
  • Be sure that following the debriefing experience, each parent has a concrete plan for extending learning into the home.
  • A lending library of books, games, and art materials can support parents in creating opportunities for positive interactions with their children in the home and community.

PACT Time in the classroom increases parent engagement by providing an experience which increases parents’ comfort level with the curriculum and staff, empowering them to be partners in their children’s education.

Do you have tips to add? Please share them in the comments!

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