Standards for child and youth development programs

2020 Edition

Early Childhood Education (CYD-ECE) 3: Parental Involvement and Support

Parents are active participants and partners and receive the support and information needed to promote healthy child development.

2020 Edition




Early Childhood Education facilitates appropriate child development and ensures the health and safety of children in care.
Related Standards:

The research on early childhood education demonstrates that teacher-family partnerships are a key indicator of quality and a strong predictor of positive developmental outcomes.  Quality programs view parents as the child’s primary caregiver with a critical role in the child’s healthy development; tailor the program to meet families’ emerging needs to the greatest extent possible; encourage maximum family involvement; and support, educate, and empower families.

The program’s practices fully meet the standard, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Provide a description of the opportunities for parent involvement
  • Informational material provided to parents
  • Copies of classroom information available to parents
  • Community resource and referral list
  • Interview:
    1. Program director
    2. Teaching staff
    3. Parents
  • Review child files
  • Observe facility
  • Observe parent/ teacher interactions

CYD-ECE 3.01

Parents have access to daily schedules and other classroom information.


The program may use classroom bulletin boards, newsletters, a webpage, or email to provide parents with consistent access to classroom information.  Information on daily routines should include the menu if meals are provided.

CYD-ECE 3.02

Parents are encouraged to be actively involved in the program.


Active involvement in the program can include participation in classroom activities as an aid or volunteer, parent education meetings, parent advisory groups, or regular parent meetings. Having an open-door policy is one effective method for encouraging parents to visit the program, meet with their child’s teacher, and participate in daily activities or special events.

Fundamental Practice

CYD-ECE 3.03

Parents are helped to understand and be actively involved in their child’s development and education through:

  1. participation in decisions affecting their child;
  2. daily updates and two-way communication of information;
  3. parent-teacher conferences that are held biannually, or more often as needed, given the child’s progress;
  4. assistance with recognizing developmental, health, or behavioral issues that may require additional services or support; and
  5. visits to the program.


Teaching staff should have a system for documenting daily events, accomplishments, or concerns to share with parents.


Parents should be encouraged to share information on the child’s behavior and development at home to ensure assessments are comprehensive and reflective of both the home and classroom environment.  See CYD-ECE 8.03 and CYD-ECE 8.04 for more information on involving parents in assessments.


Health resources can include hearing and vision screenings, resources for immunizations and well-baby check-ups, and the state and local health department.

The early detection of vision and hearing deficits is critical to limiting any developmental delays that could result.

CYD-ECE 3.04

Teaching staff  discuss cultural values and beliefs with parents and:

  1. adjust caregiving practices, daily routines, and classroom activities as appropriate; and
  2. approach differing points of view respectfully and in an empathetic manner.


Providing culturally responsive care that reflects the care provided at home can be comforting to the child.  Daily routines that may be adjusted based on a family’s belief system include potty training, feeding, and napping. However, not all cultural practices should be supported in the classroom as they may cause harm to children or contradict developmentally-appropriate practice. Teaching staff should discuss with their supervisors how parental preferences can be appropriately incorporated into the child care setting.

A study that reviewed cultural conflicts between teaching staff and parents found that conflicts tended to fall into three categories: (1) daily childrearing practices such as feeding, gender roles, sleeping techniques, and discipline; (2) specific cultural customs such as the celebration of holidays, ceremonial clothing, and hygiene; and (3) biases or preferences toward specific cultural groups such as parents’ preferences for same-race teaching staff or the use of their native language in the classroom.

CYD-ECE 3.05

Information is available to help parents cope with child-rearing responsibilities.


Information should address the needs and interests of parents and can include topics such as:

  1. child development;
  2. child health issues;
  3. transition to school; and
  4. nutrition. 
Information can be provided through:
  1.  pamphlets;
  2. brochures;
  3. relevant publications;
  4. newsletters;
  5. bulletin boards; 
  6. seminars; 
  7. parent support groups;
  8. referrals to outside providers; or
  9. other programs or media appropriate to the size of the service.

CYD-ECE 3.06

The program is flexible and responsive to the changing needs and unique circumstances of families served.


Changing needs or unique circumstances can include job loss, military deployment, the birth of a sibling, a death in the family, family violence, or divorce.

Examples of how a program can demonstrate flexibility and responsiveness include:

  • adjusting operating hours to accommodate changing work schedules; 
  • providing flexible care on an hourly or daily basis to facilitate job searches;
  • referring families to local resources; and
  • incorporating activities into the daily schedule to help children cope with stressors.