• instructional coherence: the experience learners have when messages that come from different sources (families and educators, for example) are the same or build on each other
  • cognitive development: the process of knowing, thinking, reasoning, and remembering
  • language development: the process of developing language skills to understand and engage in conversation
  • self-regulate: the ability to regulate or control one’s emotions, thoughts, and behavior
  • social development: the ability to use appropriate social skills to communicate and interact with others


Before watching this video, read the text below. When instructed, watch the video from the beginning to end.

Parents and caregivers are a child’s first teachers. As their child begins formal schooling, a family’s participation and support is crucial, both at home and in the early learning environment. The insights and information family members can share with early childhood educators can help shape that child’s early learning experience.

Many parents and caregivers are not sure how to contribute in their child’s learning. Some are unfamiliar with the education system and the expectations that come along with it. Educators can support families by building positive, collaborative relationships and by giving families strategies to help them extend the learning at home.

When educators and families work together, children experience instructional coherence—the messages they hear in the learning environment and at home are the same. Together, educators and families can shape a child’s academic success. 

In this 45-minute, self-paced tutorial, you will explore best practices in building positive and collaborative relationships with families. Two short videos will show seasoned educators using best practices in action. After watching each video, you’ll review and reflect on what you’ve seen and heard.

During this tutorial, you will:

  • Explore the best practices for getting families involved in the early childhood learning experience.
  • Learn how to build positive and collaborative relationships with families of early learners.
  • Discover how to help families extend the learning from the early childhood environment to the home.
  • Apply new knowledge to current practices.

First, do a self-assessment to discover what your strengths are and to identify specific skills you'd like to work on.

  1. Download and print the Self-Assessment (PDF).
  2. Complete the first half now, before you begin the training.
  3. Save the sheet with your answers. At the end of the training, you'll complete the second half, compare your "before" and "after" responses, and find out how far you've progressed.

Watch an overview of Getting Families Involved featuring Eleonora Villegas-Reimers, Associate Professor of Education at Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts.

Download and print the Learning Log (PDF). Use it during the tutorial to answer questions, reflect upon the materials presented, and jot down ideas and insights about how to apply what you have learned to your own learning environment.

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