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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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This framework was developed by the Office of Head Start with the assistance of the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement for the Office of Head Start. This Center is a partnership between Brazelton Touchpoints Center at Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP), with the Council of Chief State School Officers, National PTA, and Save the Children as active members of the leadership team.

The Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework: Promoting Family Engagement and School Readiness from Prenatal to Age 8 is a vital tool for early childhood education and care providers seeking to build effective engagement strategies. While the framework is intended for Head Start and Early Head Start programs, its lessons are useful and applicable to a much broader audience of early childhood programs.

When parent and family engagement activities are systemic and integrated across program foundations and program impact areas, families become empowered partners in learning and development, resulting in children who are healthy and ready for school. This framework outlines an approach to building solid foundations for successful parent and family engagement in three areas: Program Leadership, Continuous Improvement, and Professional Development. The framework also outlines the need to develop solid engagement strategies in four “Impact Areas”: Program Environment, Teaching and Learning, Family Partnerships, and Community Partnerships.

Building on this foundation, the framework highlights a set of desired family outcomes and examples of strategies to achieve them. These outcomes include:

  • Family well-being
  • Positive parent–child relationships
  • Families as lifelong educators
  • Families as learners
  • Familiy engagement in transitions (e.g., to kindergarten and elementary school)
  • Familiy connections to peers and the community
  • Families as advocates and leaders

While the framework recommends specific ways for programs to work towards these outcomes, the strategies are flexible and adaptable to local needs.

The Office of Head Start National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement identifies and disseminates evidence-based best practices to Head Start programs across the country. HFRP is one of the partner organizations of the Center. Learn more about this project and HFRP's work with Head Start and Early Head Start programs here.

© 2016 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College
Published by Harvard Family Research Project