A Maryland State Department of Education Resource


Maryland Family Engagement Toolkit

Maryland Family Engagement Toolkit
 \  Maryland Family Engagement Toolkit

The Early Childhood Family Engagement Framework Toolkit: Maryland’s Vision for Engaging Families with Young Children, was developed through funding with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Toolkit was organized around the Framework. The Framework is the theory and the Toolkit puts the theory into practice.

The Toolkit was designed to support early care and education providers as they implement the Framework’s goals and strategies. Learn best practices and practical tips, techniques, and strategies about how to move from family involvement to family engagement through the tabs below, or open a PDF version of the toolkit:

View the Full Toolkit (PDF)

The Toolkit “In Action”

Subscribe to The Toolkit “In Action” e-newsletter, an e-newsletter that offers support for early care and education providers as they use Maryland’s Early Childhood Family Engagement Toolkit to implement the goals of the Family Engagement Framework. Find past issues of the e-newsletter on The Toolkit “In Action” Archives page.

Explore The Toolkit “In Action” Archives
A young girl on a swing looks at the camera, smiling and laughing. Featured on Maryland Family Engagement Toolkit

Section 1: Acknowledgements and Introduction

This toolkit was developed by the Maryland Family Engagement Coalition and the Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood, as part of the Family Engagement Initiative, funded through a grant opportunity with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Coalition would like to acknowledge The Family Engagement Toolkit Workgroup for taking a lead role in developing this resource to supplement The Early Childhood Family Engagement Framework: Maryland’s Vision for Engaging Families with Young Children. This toolkit was designed to support members of Maryland’s early childhood community as they implement the Framework’s strategies. It is also designed to promote family engagement in early care and education settings and to improve outcomes for families and children by promoting a two-generational approach.

Learn more about the toolkit.

Six diverse children with arms around each other smiling

Section 3: Special Topics

Toxic Stress: One of the challenges of working with children and families is understanding that all of their experiences affect children and their behavior—both negatively and positively. All families experience stress, which affects children. But when families experience deep, chronic stress, it affects children’s behavior, as well as how they learn. As providers, it is important to understand this so we can modify our teaching strategies to accommodate the different ways children learn. Learn more about Toxic Stress.

Cultural Proficiency: Statistics help us to understand who Maryland’s students are, their racial/ethnic background, and the special services they receive to be ready to learn. Students’ racial/ethnic, linguistic, socioeconomic, gender/gender identity, and abilities can and should inform how we teach students and engage families in their children’s development and learning. To honor and affirm every student and their family as valuable education partners, we must evolve as culturally proficient educators and providers. Learn more about Cultural Proficiency.

Engaging Young English Learners: Fostering children’s language skills is a major focus of the early care, preschool, and prekindergarten experience. The number of “kindergarten ready” language guidelines indicates that early childhood educators and providers need to spend a significant amount of instructional time on language development. This is particularly true for providers and teachers of English Learners (ELs). Learn more about Engaging Young English Learners.


Section 4: Effective Practices

As this toolkit has demonstrated, family engagement is a partnership where schools and families work together in an intentional and reciprocal manner. Family Engagement ensures early childhood educators and providers are planning activities based on families’ needs and goals. Parents provide programs with information about their families through their initial intake, conferences, home visits, and informal conversations throughout the day. Providers can use this information to move from family involvement to family engagement, which benefits both programs and families. When this is done with commitment, programs will engage families, improve outcomes, and ensure the success of children. Learn more about Effective Practices.


Section 5: Family Engagement Self-Assessment

Effective family engagement does not happen in isolation or without considering the strengths and needs of each family. Programs using family engagement strategies effectively to support all areas of children’s and the families’ lives will ultimately promote children’s success in school and life. Learn more about Self-Assessment.

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