November 19, 2013
Welcome to the OCDEL Family Engagement Pilot Project eNews

Keeping you up-to-date with what's happening in regards to the OCDEL Family Engagement Pilot Project--upcoming opportunities, accomplishments, and resources you can use! 
Of Interest   
Family and Community Engagement: The Ultimate Back-to-School Supply

In the last few months, some students have begun school, while others have headed back to school. For many, this was a season of memorable experiences: having their fathers accompany them to their classrooms on the first day, pick them up from their first afterschool activity, and help them study for their first test. These activities demonstrate how encouraging caring adults - especially parents, and dads in particular - can take an interest in the academic performance of their child.

In support of students' academic success, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans supports opportunities for fathers, families and communities to engage with students throughout the school year. Read the U.S. Department of Education's draft framework emphasizing the importance of building effective school, family and community partnerships to support learning and development for children, and what caring adults can do to help students during the school year.

Visit the U.S. Department of Education's blog and read Family and Community Engagement: The Ultimate Back-to-School Supply





Check out Twitter. The PA LEARN Partners are now on Twitter, focusing on community outreach, family engagement, and transition activities for Pennsylvania's earliest learners.
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Touchpoints: Strategies to Link Families and ECE Staff for Health, Education and Wellbeing
February 19, 2014, 2:00 PM


Presenter: Joshua Sparrow, Associate Clinical Professor, Harvard Medical School, Brazelton Touchpionts Center

The term "touchpoints" was first coined by T. Berry Brazelton to describe temporary periods of developmental disorganization for the child and family, followed by reorganization and the emergence of new developmental capacities. These points of heightened vulnerability for child and family are periods of both risk. But, they can also be periods of  opportunity during which professionals serving children and their families can touch into the family system to keep development on track. The Touchpoints approach includes strengthening  family-provider relationships by affirming parents' competence and confidence during these developmental crises. The core of the approach is to encourage and empower parents in order to counteract their doubts about their parental skills and effectiveness. Such reassuring and affirming relationships are key to family child and parent development.
Early  childhood professionals alone cannot recreate the web of human relationships required for human development that is  disrupted by societal pressures and demands. Human development evolves not only within provider-family interactions, but also within institutions, systems of care, communities, and larger physical, social, political and economic contexts. Challenges that arise in complex systems  require systemic interventions that  may have greater potential to bring about significant and lasting change. The Touchpoints Center and the Touchpoints approach offer comprehensive resources to support the early childhood ecosystem.

Join this webinar by Josh Sparrow, MD, from the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, to learn how to enhance efforts to empower both families and teachers to promote children's health, education, and well-being.

Team Updates:  
Now available is the Butler County Early Care & Education Council at a Glance which highlights Council priorities, community benefits, how to get involved, and upcoming meeting dates. Check out this one pager on the PA's Promise for Children website!
Self-Assessments: All four pilots have completed their community Family Engagement Self Assessments! The feedback from the self-assessment process has been positive and each group is developing next steps and moving into action planning.
The team experiences were unique, but the self assessment allowed each team to include new voices into their discussions of family engagement. Some of the common threads amongst the teams were:
  • A strong commitment across multiple agencies, programs and stakeholders to strengthen their family engagement efforts;
  • Identification of practices that could possibly be expanded to reach more families;
  • Recognition that there is an inconsistency of practices across communities at time, and that their communities could benefit from additional opportunities for colloboration, coordination of efforts;
  • That as a community many practices, programs and supports are available to assist families, but these practices could benefit from expansion and sharing knowledge, support amongst programs.
  • Communities have had varied success with identifying and connecting family leaders to opportunity; and
  • Communities have had varied success in participation of families in various community events.

Questions about the OCDEL Family Engagment Pilot Project? Contact us!
Sarah Holland at saholland@pa.gov
 or 717.787.8691
Christine Behm at cbehm@pa.gov
or 717.214.5704
Mary Hall at marhal@berksiu.org
or 717.213.2077