Maryland EXCELS Toolkit  

Examples of Family Engagement Opportunities

Family engagement involves relationships that "support [families'] well-being, strong parent-child relationships, and the ongoing learning and development of parents and children alike" 1. Programs that promote family engagement view the responsibility for a child's development and learning as a collaborative effort between families, caregivers, programs, school staff, and community members. They take steps to connect families to community resources and support families to be their child's best advocate.

father reading to his young son and daughter
Building Supportive Relationship with Families

This section helps you meet the requirements for Administrative Policies and Practices: Family Engagement: ADM 5.2. To meet these requirements, you will upload documentation of the family engagement opportunities your program provides to families.

Select the Requirements tab to learn about key information to include in your document.

1 The Maryland Family Engagement Coalition (2015). The early childhood family engagement framework: Maryland's vision for engaging families with young children.


The following interactive shows the requirements for Administrative Policies and Practices: Family Engagement: ADM 5.2. Key requirements are marked by a bright dot. Select each dot for information about what to include in your documentation.

Select the option that applies to your program type:


Child Care Center

Family Child Care

School-Age Only



To meet the requirements for Administrative Policies and Practices: Family Engagement: ADM 5.2, you will need documentation that shows:

  • At least two different types of opportunities for family engagement.

Family Engagement

Research shows us that children tend to perform better when programs engage families in supporting their children's learning at home. Family engagement goes beyond basic communication with families. It requires deeper involvement and relationship building that promote strong, healthy families. Family engagement is ongoing rather than something that occurs only occasionally in the course of a child's connection with your program.

Quality child care programs welcome all families and extend invitations for families to be actively involved in their child's program. Purposeful family engagement also supports a child's readiness and success in school. Programs that strive to promote family engagement embrace a philosophy of shared responsibility between the program and the family. A child's development and learning is seen as a collaborative effort between all parties involved.


What does the documentation look like?

You will provide examples of at least two different types of family engagement in action. Family conferences are one type of opportunity even if your program offer family conferences many times during the year.

Examples of different family engagement opportunities:

  • Family Bulletin Board with resources and information
  • A lending-library of books and resources for families
  • Allowing family members to prepare materials for your program
  • Visiting the families in their home
  • Offering events, workshops, and / or trainings that bring families, your program, and the community together
  • Providing an open-door policy for family members to visit unannounced

Ways to document your program's family engagement include:

  • Flyers
  • Invitations
  • Sign-up sheets
  • Calendars
  • Newsletters
  • Photographs with captions

How can you tell if you're on the right track?

Your documentation clearly shows at least two different types of opportunities for families to be engaged in your program. Review your documents to see if your documentation clearly shows:

  • How you actively plan different ways for families to engage in your program
  • A variety of opportunities for families with different needs and schedules to engage in your program. (For example, do families have the option of helping or volunteering from home if they are unable to volunteer in the classroom?)

Where can you learn more?

The following video simulation focuses on parent, family, and community engagement. While the Head Start standards and programming are mentioned throughout the video, the concepts and key messages are relevant to all program types. As you view the video, you are encouraged to reflect on the messages presented and how they may apply to your own program.

Boosting School Readiness through Effective Family Engagement

Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Simulation: Boosting School Readiness through Effective Family Engagement Series | ECLKC

What you do and say matters! Explore and practice everyday strategies to develop Positive Goal-Oriented Relationships with a family. These relationships are key to our work with children and families, including the journey toward school readiness. Simulation 1 allows you to practice building bonds with families, beginning with an intake visit.

The Early Childhood Family Engagement Framework: Maryland's Vision for Engaging Families with Young Children is designed to "support intentional thinking and action regarding the implementation of family engagement policies and practices..." (p.1).

The Early Childhood Family Engagement Framework: Maryland's Vision for Engaging Families with Young Children



Supporting Every Young Learner: Maryland's Guide to Early Childhood Pedagogy Birth to Age 8. Chapter 3 includes tips, strategies, and examples of family engagement you may find helpful.

Guide to Early Childhood Pedagogy

Guide to Early Childhood Pedagogy

Supporting Every Young Learner: Maryland's Guide to Early Childhood Pedagogy, Birth to Age 8 (PDF) presents best practices and ideas to help you create rich and meaningful early learning experiences for every child. Informed by research and crafted by educators across Maryland, it is intended to be a "go-to" resource for early childhood educators in all settings.

Final Touches

Check your documentation as you prepare to upload it to the Maryland EXCELS System.


Check to be sure your documentation includes:


Save your document:

  • Use a file name that you can find easily when you upload it to the system. (examples: family-engagment.docx; family-night.jpg; program-potluck-dinner.jpg)
  • Use any one of these formats:
    • Photographs (examples: JPG, GIF) - with a description of the event shown in the picture
    • Electronic documents (examples: Microsoft Word, PDF)
    • Scanned documents (examples: PDF, PNG, JPG)

Next Steps

Use the following guide to upload your documentation, look ahead, and think about a plan for ongoing improvement.


Step 1: Prepare to Upload Your Document

  • Locate your username and password for logging into your Maryland EXCELS account
  • Locate where you saved your documentation

Step 2: Look Ahead and Plan for Improvement

Look Ahead

If you offer three or more different opportunities for families to engage with your program, you may meet the requirements for ADM 5.3, ADM 5.4, or ADM 5.5. Review the requirements for higher quality ratings to see if you are ready to upload additional documentation at this time.

Plan for Improvement

Think about the families who are less engaged with your program. What new approaches might you try to increase their engagement or to build a stronger relationship with them? Set a goal to gather feedback from families. You may find they have ideas of other ways to engage families. Consider partnering with families to create new opportunities that enrich the experience for everyone connected with your program.

Remember to upload any new documentation to the Maryland EXCELS System as you work to make ongoing improvements in your program and achieve higher quality ratings.


Step 3: Upload Your Documentation (ADM 5.2)

Log in to the Maryland EXCELS System to upload at least two examples of family engagement.

screenshot of Maryland EXCELS upload screen with a comment box
Upload Documentation