Australia’s national education evidence body

It takes a village: the importance of family engagement for supporting learning

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A group of eight woman from different ethnic backgrounds sit around a table talking to one another. Another two women stand in the background, having a conversation.

There is a great deal of evidence that families play a critical role in supporting their children’s early learning and development. So, it’s no wonder that greater engagement between families and the staff at early childhood education and care (ECEC) services or schools generally results in better outcomes for children and young people.

That’s why AERO’s vision of equity and excellence in educational outcomes across Australia relies on educators, teachers and leaders working together with families to support children’s learning and development.

Tools for effective family engagement

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to family engagement, as every ECEC service and school is different. Nevertheless, there are a number of proven, evidence-based strategies which schools and ECEC services can use to help foster the relationships with children and their families.

Last year we released family engagement practice guides for early childhood, primary, secondary school levels. These guides make recommendations based on the best available research evidence about how educators and leaders can engage with families to improve children’s learning outcomes. These guides outline both 'promising' and 'not promising' approaches drawn from multiple studies.

Building on the recommendations captured in these practice guides, we’ve released a series of practical resources, developed by ARACY, to support and facilitate change in primary and secondary schools.

The primary and secondary promising approaches audit tools help school teachers and leaders reflect on their current approaches and plan how to implement best practice within their own context.

The primary and secondary family engagement implementation checklists can be used with the audit tools to plan the implementation of your school’s approaches for engaging with families to support children’s learning.

Family engagement in action

Together with the release of the audit tools and checklists, we have worked with Schools Plus to produce several case studies showing family engagement in action:

Soon, we'll publish 3 more early childhood education and care case studies, showing what family engagement looks like at their service.

Ongoing family engagement

In addition to the tools and case studies, we’re also producing a suite of guides which tailor promising approaches to specific groups.

The role of the family as a trusted partner and contributor to learning outcomes is recognised across and within projects on AERO’s research agenda.

Related resources

Promising approaches audit tools: 

Family engagement implementation checklists:

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