Parent and Community Engagement

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to restore America’s educational prowess, a convergence around the power of family engagement as a dual or multigenerational approach to education has recently picked up some momentum. After almost two years in the making, the Department of Education has released its Family and Community Engagement Framework, which outlines its approach to family-school partnership.

The purpose of the ED’s framework is to help bridge family and community engagement to learning and education for children and schools. The framework is merely a guide to help and inform the already ongoing conversation about family literacy initiatives, and with the recent release of our Family Engagement Brief, NCFL is looking forward to accelerating discussions with ED.

NCFL knows that parent-child interactions are the heart of family literacy services. Twenty years of experience has proven that engaging more than one generation in learning together positively impacts the entire family, and in turn, the larger community. Research indicates that the inclusion of more than one generation in education increases the likelihood that college and career readiness will be passed on as a shared value.

Educators and parents need to realize that a family-school partnership is more than just homework assistance and conferences.

Meaningful interactions that bring parents and children together to work, play, read, and learn can lead to enhanced language, literacy, emotional, and cognitive development. Additionally, parents who are learning to support their children’s language and literacy development have the opportunity to enhance their own literacy skills when reading to children.

Today, there are more methods of engaging families than ever before, and the growing accessibility (and utilization) of the Internet is a major opportunity for families to themselves explore new and already-established interests that align with school curriculum.

That’s why NCFL and Toyota have combined efforts to create the Family Time Machine, a site dedicated to providing parents with fun, fresh ideas on how to turn every day moments into learning opportunities.

These activities include

NCFL also created the highly-lauded educational site Wonderopolis, a platform that explores one why- or what-is-this question at a time. Wonders like “Why Do Zebras Have Stripes?” or “What is the Vernal Equinox?” includes a brief, easy-to-understand explanation, a list of related activities, vocabulary terms, and advanced options for further inquiry.

In addition to websites like Family Time Machine and Wonderopolis, NCFL offers expertise and comprehensive professional development to all aspects of ED’s Framework. Consult our Family Engagement Brief and feel free to contact NCFL for further information or questions.