Family Education and Involvement

Broadly, family education and involvement refers to efforts by the early learning program to keep families informed and to partner with families to improve experiences both for their child and for the entire program. Family education and involvement activities include conducting orientations and parent-teacher conferences, using daily communication logs, distributing parent handbooks and resources on children’s development, connecting families to community resources, and providing opportunities (like surveys, parent meetings) for families to give feedback on the program. The Texas Rising Star Guidelines contain specific requirements for what these strategies might look like, for example, what topics should be included in the parent handbook and orientation. 

However, even as minimum requirements are met, family education and involvement is a wonderful area to prioritize for continuous improvement efforts. Having strong relationships with families–in which decisions are made and problems are solved together–can improve children’s learning and behavior. Improvement in this area can look like adding new initiatives, but it can also be improving the quality of something you are already doing. Some examples include:

    • Restructuring parent-teacher conferences to incorporate more conversation about the children’s individual development
    • Adopting a new communication tool that is more family-friendly and allows for two-way communication and parent feedback
    • Redesigning a parent handbook to make it easier to read and find relevant information
    • Conducting a search to find more engaging resources on children’s development that can be shared with families
    • Infusing a more respectful and positive tone with families during routine communications

Stop and Reflect

What kinds of information are you currently sharing with families? How do you share it? 

Can you tell if families actually receive and understand the information? How can you tell?

How confident do you feel that your program is successfully collaborating with families around:

    • Challenging behaviors?
    • At-home activities that support children’s learning?
    • Improvements to your early learning program?

What support do you need from your Texas Rising Star mentor to help your program’s family education and involvement efforts?


Texas Rising Star has nine measures related to family education and involvement. Click the links to learn more about these measures. 

    • S-FE-01: Parents are provided with written policies and procedures that include specific topics. 
    • P-FE-01: The early learning program conducts an orientation with the family at enrollment.
    • P-FE-02: The early learning program provides families with opportunities to better understand the child’s growth and development.
    • S-FI-02: The early learning program has a written policy or process for addressing challenging behaviors of children. The policy or process includes teachers and/or director having ongoing conversations with parents to express concerns and discuss strategies in addressing challenging behaviors. 
    • S-FI-03: The director and teachers should be able to provide evidence that they are working together with the parents about decisions regarding the child’s experience, which may include written reports for children and a parent communication log.
    • S-FI-04: Information about community resources is available to the parent or family.
    • P-FI-01: Parents and families have structured opportunities to provide input that may influence the program.
    • P-FI-02: Parent-teacher conferences are held.
    • P-FI-03: Families are invited to participate in program-related activities.


Family Engagement Professional Development

In this series of online trainings, participants learn about research-driven ways to partner with families in supporting children’s development. Family education and involvement are critical components in the establishment of successful home-school relationships, and this professional development series will help programs build a strong partnership between home and school.

Age group(s): Infant, Toddler, Preschool
Resource Type: Online Course
Gathering and Sharing Child Assessment Data

Head Start’s Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center (ECLKC) gives suggestions on how to gather and share information with families to support children’s learning and development. Practitioners will further build their knowledge and skillset to have ongoing conversations with parents regarding the child’s experience, progress, and development.

Age group(s): Infant, Toddler, Preschool, School-age
Resource Type: Online Course
Responding with Families to Developmental Concerns

Practitioners will discover ways to engage families when they have concerns that a child is at risk for a disability or developmental delay. With proper documentation, staff and families can work together to make decisions regarding the child’s experience and discuss the supports available for children with differing abilities.

Age group(s): Infant, Toddler, Preschool
Resource Type: Online Course

View more resources

Practice and Improve

Annual Feedback Survey

Here is a template of an annual feedback survey for families to complete. Program leaders can use a similar survey—hard copy or electronic—to provide families with the opportunity to provide structured feedback on the program, staffing, and classrooms. Download will start automatically.

Age group(s): Infant, Toddler, Preschool, School-age
Resource Type: Template
Challenging Behavior Policy

This is an example of an early learning program’s written policy and process for addressing challenging behaviors of children. The exemplar includes evidence of the families being informed of their child’s progress, as well as the ongoing conversations between staff and the family framed around school readiness and the objective of the program.

Age group(s): Infant, Toddler, Preschool, School-age
Resource Type: Example Document
CIRCLE Activity Collection: Family

The CIRCLE Activity Collection: Family (CAC) translates child development research into practice by providing a variety of hands-on activities that families can do at home. The CAC allows families to learn more about the growth and development of their child. The CAC: Family is freely available to the public through CLI Engage.

Age group(s): Infant, Toddler, Preschool, School-age
Resource Type: Activity
Family Engagement Toolkit

Make the most of procedures you already have in place—like progress monitoring, homework, parent-teacher conferences, and open houses—with CLI’s Family Engagement Toolkit. Download guides and tools, discover resources to share with families, and access free professional development to foster a strong relationship between school and home!

Age group(s): Infant, Toddler, Preschool
Resource Type: Toolkit
Family Handbook

The Texas Rising Star requirements related to Family Education and Involvement emphasize the importance of sharing policies and procedures of the early learning program with families. Upon enrollment, programs should provide written policies and procedures in a family handbook like this example.

Age group(s): Infant, Toddler, Preschool, School-age
Resource Type: Example Document
Family Observation Forms

Assessment practices should include receiving input from families on children’s developing skills. The CIRCLE Progress Monitoring: Family Observation Forms are appropriate for preschool children and can be used in conversations with families to identify skills that could be supported at home and at the program.

Age group(s): Preschool
Resource Type: Observation Form
Family Orientation Form

Upon enrollment, early learning programs should provide families with key documents and have a discussion regarding the child’s enrollment. This example form ensures that the facility has provided parents/families with specific outlined information, and a family member provides their signature as confirmation.

Age group(s): Infant, Toddler, Preschool, School-age
Resource Type: Example Document
Parent-Teacher Conference Record

Program staff can use this conference record form to document their conversations with families, as well as use the completed form as evidence showing the ongoing communication with families about children’s progress and development. By having completed forms, the program has proof that staff and families are working together to make decisions regarding the child’s experience.

Age group(s): Infant, Toddler, Preschool, School-age
Resource Type: Example Document

View more resources by clicking the link for each measure in the Define section.