Maryland EXCELS Toolkit  

Conference Schedule & Statement (Family Child Care / Child Care Centers)

Communication Policy (School-Age Only)

Informal daily communication is one way to build relationships with families, but more formal communication, like conferences or weekly newsletters, can strengthen important connections with families. Regular communication helps families stay informed about events happening in your program, and formal conferences gives you and families a chance to discuss a child’s development, progress, interests, background experiences, and other topics that support children’s development and learning.

woman looking over the shoulder of a child while she writes
Families as Partners

This section guides you through reviewing, revising, or creating a written statement or policy that explains your program’s approach to family conferences or family communication. Family Child Care and Child Care Center programs will submit a statement about family conferences and include a conference schedule. School-Age Only programs will submit a communication policy.

Select the Requirements tab for information on what to include in your written statement or policy for:

  • Administrative Policies and Practices: Family Conferences: ADM 6.4 (Family Child Care / Child Care Centers)
  • Administrative Policies and Practices: Family Communication: ADM 6.4 (School-Age Only)

Requirements

The following interactive shows the requirements for ADM 6.4. 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
ADM 6.4: Family Conferences Program conducts family conferences at least twice a year. Documentation to submit: Family Conferences Schedule & Statement

Family Child Care
ADM 6.4: Family Conferences Program conducts family conferences at least twice a year. Documentation to submit: Family Conferences Schedule & Statement

School-Age Only
ADM 6.4: Family Communication Written communication policy supports open and confidential communication regarding child progress, concerns, program planning, and provides opportunities for conferences between staff and family. Documentation to submit: Communication Policy

 

Instructions

Instructions for creating a Family Conferences statement or a Communication Policy vary slightly depending on your program type.

 

  Instructions for Child Care Centers

  Instructions for Family Child Care
 

Family Child Care programs will upload the following to meet the requirements for Administrative Policies and Practices: Family Conferences: ADM 6.4:

  • A Conference Schedule showing that conferences are offered at least twice a year
  • A Statement explaining:
    • How your program informs families about conferences
    • How families sign up for conferences

The Policy or Statement Builder provides a step-by-step guide for creating your statement or policy.

 




Conference Schedule & Statement

Formal conferences are one way to make sure you and families set aside time for structured and focused discussions about their children. Conferences may be offered at the same time each year (example: fall and spring), when children move to a new program or classroom, as requested by families, or as needed.

 

What does the documentation look like?

Your documentation will include:

  • A conference schedule showing that conferences are offered at least twice a year
  • A statement explaining:
    • How families are informed about conferences
    • How families sign up to attend a conference

Your conference schedule may be in the form of written documents to families, a calendar, a newsletter describing when conferences are offered, or within a handbook families receive when they enroll their children in your program.

 

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

You are on the right track if your conference schedule clearly shows that conferences are offered at least twice a year. Your statement should clearly explain your program’s approach to conferences. If a family member read your statement, they should know:

  1. conferences are offered at least once a year
  2. how they can expect to find out about conferences
  3. the process for signing up for a conference

See if you can identify these three points in your statement.

 

Where can you learn more?

This tip sheet gives you some ideas to consider for your next round of conferences with families.

Family Conference – Tip Sheet

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Policy or Statement Builder

This interactive helps you write a statement that describes your program's approach to family conferences. You have the option of emailing your responses to yourself and editing your final statement before uploading it to the Maryland EXCELS System. Writing your responses in full sentences now gives you a head-start when you edit your statement later.

 

Build-A-Statement: Family Conferences (Family Child Care)


  Instructions for School-Age Only

Final Touches

Check your Family Conference statement or Communication Policy as you prepare to upload it to the Maryland EXCELS System.

 

Check to be sure your documentation includes:

Family Child Care / Child Care Centers

 
 
  • How families are informed of conferences
  • How families sign up for a conference

School-Age Only

A Communication Policy that supports open and confidential communication related to:

 
 
 
 
 

Save your document:

  • Use a file name that you can find easily when you upload it to the system. (example: family-conferences.docx; family-communication.docx)
  • Use any one of these formats:
    • Typed electronic version (examples: Microsoft Word, PDF)
    • Scanned version (examples: PDF, PNG, JPG)
    • Digital image / picture (examples: JPG, PNG, PDF)

Next Steps

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

 

Step 1: Prepare to Upload Your Documents

  • Locate your username and password for logging into your Maryland EXCELS account
  • Locate the document you saved on the computer
 

Step 2: Look Ahead and Plan for Improvement

Look Ahead

If yours is a Family Child Care or Child Care Center program and your documentation meets the requirements for ADM 6.4, it also meets the requirements for ADM 6.5.

If yours is a School-Age Only program that offers opportunities for conferences between your staff and family and / or agencies working with families, your policy may meet the requirements for ADM 6.5.

Plan for Improvement

Continue to learn about ways to communicate with families. Consider asking families to evaluate the communication policies and practices you and your staff follow. You may find that families have good suggestions for improving your program's policies and practices.

 

Step 3: Upload Your Documentation (ADM 6.4)

Log in to the Maryland EXCELS System to upload your statement that describes your program's approach to family conferences.

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