Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Early Childhood Education (PA-ECE) 4: 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.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
No Self-Study Evidence
  • Samples of classroom information provided to parents from the previous six months
  • Parent/teacher conference schedule for the previous 12 months
  • Samples of information on child-rearing responsibilities available to parents
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Parents
  • Review child files
  • Observe systems/tools for daily communication with parents

PA-ECE 4.01

Parents have access to daily schedules and other classroom information including a menu if meals are provided.
Examples: The agency may use classroom bulletin boards, newsletters, a webpage, or email to provide parents with consistent access to classroom information.

PA-ECE 4.02

Parents are encouraged to be actively involved in the program.
Examples: Active involvement in the program can include participation in classroom activities as an aid or volunteer, parent education meetings, parent advisory boards, 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.

PA-ECE 4.03

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 regarding activities, accomplishments, or concerns;
  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.
Examples: Services and supports for meeting health needs can include hearing and vision screenings, resources for immunizations and well-baby check-ups, and the state and local health department.

PA-ECE 4.04

Teaching staff discuss cultural values and beliefs with parents and:
  1. adjust caregiving practices, daily routines, and classroom activities as appropriate and in accordance with developmentally-appropriate practice; 
  2. approach differing points of view respectfully and in an empathetic manner; and 
  3. involve their supervisor as needed to discuss how parental preferences can be appropriately and safely incorporated into the child care setting.
Examples: 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.

PA-ECE 4.05

Information is available to help parents cope with child-rearing responsibilities.
Examples: Information provided may vary based on 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 and capacity of the program.

PA-ECE 4.06

The agency is flexible and responsive to the changing needs and unique circumstances of families served.
Examples: Changing needs or unique circumstances can include job loss, military deployment, the birth of a sibling, a death in the family, serious and/or chronic health conditions, family violence, or divorce.

Examples of how an agency can demonstrate flexibility and responsiveness include:
  1. adjusting coverage schedules to accommodate changing child care needs;
  2. providing flexible care on an hourly or daily basis;
  3. referring families to local resources; and
  4. incorporating activities into the daily schedule to help children cope with stressors.