Providing High-Quality Family Early Learning Experiences
The PARENT INVOLVEMENT PROJECT (PIP), which works collaboratively with parents, schools, and communities, is an innovative and multifaceted parent education program offered to school districts and addresses the needs of underserved families beginning when children enter preschool. (Download a PDF of this page.)
Research* shows that when parents and other adult family members meaningfully engage in children’s learning, they play a vital role in enabling children to succeed in school and later in life. PIP nurtures parents’ critical role as their child’s first and most important teachers.
An evaluation study found that parents value the family learning experiences that PIP provides. (Download a PDF of the Executive Summary.)
PIP supports parents through a model of four closely linked and integrated components, as depicted in this graphic.
Parent Participation in Their Children’s Classroom
- Parents engage in meaningful and skill-enhancing activities with their child and other children in the context of the classroom.
- Caring and supportive teachers model positive and responsive adult-child interactions for parents to practice in the classroom and at home.
Parent Education Workshops
- Presenters, often community members from public agencies, who have expertise in their subject matter provide strategies and guidance for parents to support children’s learning and development across four domains: cognitive, language and literacy, social-emotional, and physical development and health.
- Parents are encouraged to actively participate at each workshop to make it a more engaging experience.
- PIP Home Visitors develop warm, mutually respectful relationships with families to enhance parent-teacher-child connections and communication.
- Home visits focus on supporting parenting skills and practices to support children’s early learning.
- Field trips and school-site presentations build on children’s curiosity and enable parents and children to share learning experiences away from the classroom.
- Activities leverage community resources, link to classroom learning, and are designed to be interesting, enjoyable, and to encourage families to seek these kinds of activities on their own.
How PIP Works
- Parents sign a Parent Agreement at the beginning of the school year and commit to participate in the child’s classroom one session each month, attend not less than eight parent education workshops, host six home visits, participate in enrichment activities as their schedules permit, and regularly practice the parenting skills they have learned.
- A district administrator, who has oversight of the preschool program, serves as the PIP Program Supervisor and works to maintain the quality of PIP activities while aligning them with the regular educational program.
- The PIP Facilitator, who, working collaboratively with district staff, manages the day-to-day aspects of what PIP provides.
- The PIP Home Visitor focuses on the home-visit component, linking the knowledge and skills parents acquire through the parent education workshops and classroom participation.
- Teachers encourage parents’ participation in the classroom and communicate regularly with PIP staff regarding the needs of individual children and families.
- PIP’s strongest advocates may be school principals and district administrators who can attest to how well the PIP components are being implemented, build enthusiasm among school staff, and help instill a strong culture for parent participation.
WestEd’s Role in Supporting the Parent Involvement Project
Critical to PIP’s success are the direction and oversight that WestEd brings to the project’s implementation and administration. Specifically, WestEd:
- oversees PIP implementation at each participating school district to ensure program fidelity;
- provides ongoing support and guidance in consultation with district PIP Program Supervisors;
- provides a platform for sharing experiences and ideas and for encouraging innovation;
- advises in the selection, hiring, and supervision of PIP Facilitators and PIP Home Visitors;
- provides professional development opportunities for PIP staff to enhance the quality of implementation;
- initiates and supports district efforts to sustain parent learning and family engagement as children transition to kindergarten and beyond; and
- evaluates project performance to validate outcomes and identify areas for quality improvement.
This project has been made possible in part by a grant from an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
* Related Research
The following research speaks to the importance of the parent-child relationship in the context of the home and school:
- Barrueco, S., Smith, S., & Stephens, S. (2015). Supporting parent engagement in linguistically diverse families to promote young children’s learning: Implications for early care and education policy. New York, NY: Child Care & Early Education Research Connections. Retrieved from https://www.researchconnections.org/childcare/resources/30185/pdf
- Dunst, C. J., Bruder, M. B., Trivette, C. M., & Hamby, D. W. (2006). Everyday activity settings, natural learning environments, and early intervention practices. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 3(1), 3–10.
- Halgunseth, L. C., Peterson, A., Stark, D. R., & Moodie, S. (2009). Family engagement, diverse families, and early childhood education programs: An integrated review of the literature. Washington, DC.
- Henderson, A., & Mapp, K. (2002). A new wave of evidence: The impact of school, family, and community connections on student achievement. Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. Retrieved from https://www.sedl.org/connections/resources/evidence.pdf
- National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. (2004). Young children develop in an environment of relationships (Working Paper No. 1). Retrieved from https://developingchild.harvard.edu/index.php/resources/reports_and_working_papers/working_papers/wp1/