Family-Centered Programs in Early Childhood Classroom


Family-centered programs for early childhood education have become popular across the United States due to their inherent benefits. By definition, family-centered approaches entail the family’s involvement in all childcare programs, including early childhood classrooms. In this case, the family is considered to be a critical player in the successful development of a child’s learning. The purpose of these programs is to help create the optimal environment for a child’s learning. Additionally, the programs can be needs-based, which means that each child receives instruction customized to the living environment. Overall, family-centered programs seek to engage, strengthen, involve and support families in their efforts to facilitate a child’s learning. It is important to acknowledge that family-centered approaches target the health and the general well-being of the child.

A key point to emphasize in family-centered approaches is that the focus is usually on the involvement of parents and adult family members in a child’s development. Parental involvement is a practice that has been proven, using empirical research, to be vital to the development a child, which extends to success in adult life. In this case, early childhood education is a stage in life where parents and carers are heavily involved in raising the child. Home and classroom experiences have similar implications on a child’s learning. The rationale for this statement is that daily experiences are indeed learning experiences. Overall, all skills developed both at home and at school facilitate learning, which explains why family-centered approaches are preferable. Therefore, practitioners should design programs that allow parents to participate effectively in a child’s learning.

Self-Help Skills

Self-help skills can be described as the abilities that children gradually develop to allow them to become more independent from their caregivers. As part of the growth of a child, there are tasks that children learn and acquire as they shift away from constant care. For example, toddlers are fed by their caregivers, but this skill can be developed as the child grows until the child can feed itself. Self-help skills allow the children to perform more tasks. In family-centered approaches, it can be argued that self-help skills are facilitated by designing the programs to suit the environment of the child and performing those tasks expected in the relevant environment. Basic hygiene and sanitation are part of early childhood education, and these activities are often prioritized. In this case, the successful acquisition of the skills can be assessed in terms of how self-reliant a child has become regarding these activities.

Relating to Class and Home

The self-help skills are related to both the classroom and home in that they help the children accomplish basic tasks and develop their motor and cognitive skills. At home, the children can manage to handle some of the basic functions and duties and learn critical lessons that can be used in this environment. For example, meal times are often family times where the entire family gathers around a dining table. Self-help skills will be needed for a child to partake in these activities without bothering the grownups. It is a skill that can also be applied in a similar settings. Other basic functions accomplished through self-help skills include observing road safety, washing and drying hands, and putting clothes away. A similar scenario applies to the classroom, where a child is taught to make individual observations, manipulate objects, comply with instructions, and understand language.

Strategies for Teaching

Three main strategies can be used in the classroom to teach self-help skills. Practicing tasks is one of the most common strategies where the teachers focus on helping learners with simple tasks performed until perfection. This way, new skills can be learned each day or major lessons broken down into smaller and more manageable tasks. For example, in object manipulation, children can be taught how to play with certain toys until they become perfect. The second strategy is observing, which simply entails watching a person doing something to learn how it is done. For example, a child can observe a teacher perform a task or play with a toy and then repeat the steps. Observation is a basic strategy in the classroom, considering that it is a primary learning technique deployed by teachers. Lastly, role play takes practicing a step further and engages the children in the performance of simulated real-life activities. Role play helps children develop skills that can be applied in real-life situations.

Helping Parents Utilize Strategies

In the classroom, the teachers already know how to utilize the strategies. However, the same cannot be said of parents at home, most of whom may not have a basic understanding of what to do to teach their children self-help skills. Considering this is a family-centered approach, the parents can be helped by developing a checklist of activities to do in a week or other specified timelines. For example, tasks can be broken down into days where parents ensure each day the child completes the tasks each. Checklists can be followed by basic training where parents are taught how to handle children in certain scenarios. Seminars or other forms of parent-teacher conferences are a platform that can be utilized to teach parents the strategies. Lastly, a helpline can be established where a parent can call a practitioner seeking advice on a certain strategy. For example, if a mother wants to perform a task so a child can watch, she can call an educator to ask how it is done.

Resource for Parents

A parent handbook is the main resource that parents will need to effectively teach their children self-help skills. In this case, the parent handbook outlines the curriculum details to illustrate what is expected of the children towards the end of the programs. Considering that this case involved self-help skills, it is important to acknowledge that the handbook must contain a mission and goals for developing self-help skills. Additionally, there is a need to include a guide for the parent’s use of the three strategies for teaching self-help skills. Guidance and discipline requirements are also key elements in the handbook. A key point to emphasize is that the handbook would be offered either in print or in e-book, depending on the requests of the parents. Either way, this resource helps the parent understand their role and activities, as well as the strategies they need to accomplish their part in early childhood learning.

As mentioned earlier, the parent handbook comprises a key resource that guides parents on what self-help skills to teach their children. One element that should be emphasized is the chore chart, which is simply a checklist of all chores that a child is to be taught. Additionally, the chore chart can help parents monitor progress by ticking boxes for all chores completed. This way, parents can help teach one skill at a time until they are sure that the child has succeeded. Most importantly, the charts can be broken down into different ages. For example, skills taught to a 4-year-old child are different from those taught to a 2-year-old. The chores can be arranged in order of increasing complexity.

Pro-Social Skills

Pro-social skills can be defined as behaviors intended to help others. In early childhood education, practitioners can help children achieve these skills by developing several habits. Pro-social skills manifest themselves in a wide range of actions. Examples include showing concern for the rights of others. Similarly, children can display such habits as minding the welfare or the feelings of other people. According to Cherry (2020), the term pro-social emerged in the 1970s when it was introduced by scientists to imply the opposite of antisocial behavior. Prosocial skills benefit not only the people to which the positive actions are intended but also the individual committing the actions. In this case, some of the benefits include stress reduction, boosting moods, and benefits related to social support. These skills can prove critical for growing children as they learn to interact best with their peers and other members of society.

Relating to Classroom and Home

Pro-social skills are not necessarily applied differently between the classroom and at home, considering that the basic requirement is a consideration for the interest of others. In the classroom, the children interact with their peers. Therefore, prosocial skills relate to the classroom in that they help foster positive interactions. In this case, the children can learn to show gratitude to others for their help or other good deeds. Similarly, the children can show acts of kindness to others in times of need or display empathy. Prosocial skills relate to the home in that children have to deal with emotions, interact with other people, and engage in conflicts which they are needed to learn how to resolve. Prosocial skills at home are a necessity for a growing child who needs to understand the basic norms and customs of dealing with people.

Strategies for Teaching

Teachers can use three major strategies in the classroom for teaching pro-social skills. Firstly, behavioral programs can be designed to help coach the necessary behaviors among the children. These programs are intended to change or modify behaviors. From a theoretical perspective, behavior management is a practice that seeks to instill in the children values and habits needed for their social interaction. Secondly, rules and expectations comprise a strategy where behavioral standards and thresholds are set for the children to adhere to. The rules need to be based on the set principles that govern the consequences of behavior. Additionally, the rationalization for the rules should be provided to the children alongside the cause and effects framework for actions and choices. Lastly, modeling is a strategy that can use imitation as a form of learning.

Helping Parents Use Strategy

The use of the strategies for teaching pro-social skills at home does not necessarily differ from the classroom environment. In this case, the parents or the guardian play the role of a coach, similar to a teacher. It is expected that each family has some domestic rules that every member is expected to follow. These rules manifest the behavioral expectations at home. Therefore, parents can be taught how to set the rules based on the family standards for behavior. Home coaching is a practice similar to the modeling strategies where the guardians lead by example. The children are therefore expected to imitate the pro-social behaviors of their caregivers. Lastly, family therapy can be used as part of the behavioral program’s strategy. Overall, practitioners can help parents implement the strategies by designing home programs that match the classroom curriculum.

Resource for Parents

Teaching pro-social skills to children can be challenging for parents without the necessary skills and resources. Additionally, pro-social skills are not fixed, which means that different children could be exposed to different social environments. In this case, the best resource for the parents is a web-based portal where standardized materials and guidance are offered to the parents. In the portal, each parent can access the curriculum and the necessary changes and updates. Additionally, the standard materials offering guidance on how to teach pro-social skills and those elements to prioritize are availed in the online portal. The assumption behind this resource is that parents can access the relevant devices and internet access is guaranteed. This resource also helps ensure that all children can learn at the same pace and can be subjected to similar environments.

Self-Regulation Skills

Self-regulation can be defined as the ability to understand and manage one’s behavior and reactions to life situations. Among children, self-regulation can be a difficult skill set to attain, considering that it requires individuals who are edging close to becoming independent. In early childhood, it can be argued that children should be subjected to the proper environments to help them develop these skills from an early stage. It is important to acknowledge that self-regulation starts to develop rapidly in both the toddler and preschooler years and continues to do so throughout adulthood. Besides behavior, self-regulation also covers such areas as emotions, problem-solving, taking, planning, role modeling, and instructions. In the classroom, self-regulation skills are deemed to be particularly important since they help learners monitor and deploy the necessary learning strategies.

The chart above highlights some of the major approaches and activities involved in teaching self-regulation to children. According to WY Quality Counts, teaching these skills requires patience on the part of the teachers and parents. However, it is important to acknowledge that the above chart is not conclusive and the practitioners can develop a set of activities that they believe works best for the children. Nevertheless, the activities are simple enough to allow parents to participate in teaching self-regulation to their children.

Relating to Home and Classroom

There are several ways in which self-regulation skills relate to both the classroom and home environment. In the classroom, self-regulation skills are a necessity for learning and succeeding academically. For example, self-regulating learners can monitor their grades and deploy the necessary strategies to make improvements where necessary. Similarly, the learners can select and set their own academic goals and pursue problem-solving capabilities based on the situations they face. In early childhood, self-regulation is needed to help the child perform academic tasks accordingly. At home, self-regulation skills play a vital role for the child. Most importantly, the skills help the children earn and practice socially responsible behaviors, often by controlling such elements as impulses. Additionally, the children can select friends and other people to approach under certain conditions. Task performance is also facilitated through self-regulation.

Strategies for Teaching

Teaching strategies for self-regulation skills in the classroom depend on the needs and interests of each child. In this case, the first strategy is responding to the child’s interests and requests since these are indicative signs of learning. As mentioned earlier, self-regulation may be a pathway toward independence but this does not occur in a vacuum. On the contrary, the children will constantly need the attention and help of the practitioner. It can be argued that children learning self-regulation will have their goals, which means every time they get stuck, they will seek help. The second strategy is talking about emotions, a strategy based on the premise that emotions affect behaviors. Controlling impulses means successfully one’s emotions, an ability that can be instilled by talking about emotions and their consequences. Lastly, a routine for the children can be maintained where children are expected to behave in certain ways under specified scenarios or to determine the best causes of actions based on their unique needs and interests.

Helping Parents Use Strategy

The home environment comprises different life scenarios for children in learning and applying self-regulation skills. The strategies proposed can be used by the parents through the support of the practitioner. First, the parents can be coached to develop warm and responsive relationships with the child. The strategy facilitated responding to children’s requests and interests. Secondly, the parents can be requested to monitor behaviors within the family routines to assess the progress and identify gaps. This way, the home routines can be designed with the same parameters as those at school. Lastly, new situations can help overcome the monotony of routines. Arguably, setting routines for home and class could limit the learning progress due to exposure to fixed situations.

Resource for Parents

The most important resource for a parent is a detailed guide containing instructions on how to help children develop self-regulation skills at home. In this case, the parents need to be made aware of what self-regulation is and the things to look for in the daily behaviors of a child. The guide should contain instructions on how to implement the strategies at home. Additionally, it should give parents a detailed procedure and checklist for mentoring a child’s stressors. The rationale is some of the aspects may require specialized skills and parents can be offered a reporting framework or a helpline for the more difficult cases. Additionally, the guide provides advice on how to maintain emotional relationships with the children and a selection of imaginative plays that keep the children engaged.


The family-centered approaches to early childhood education have been labeled as effective mechanisms for facilitating a child’s learning. In this case, three sets of skills have been discussed: self-help, pro-social, and self-regulation. Across these skills, the relation to the class and home environment has been explored. In all the cases, it has been established that different strategies would be needed based on what the skills prioritize and the role played by both the practitioners and the parents. Similarly, different resources are needed by parents based on what they are expected to do. For example, a handbook becomes essential for self-help skills since it helps parents understand what skills to teach their children at certain ages. Overall, both the classroom and home environments are critical in teaching and learning several skills.


Cherry, K. (2020). The basics of prosocial behaviors. Verywellmind. Web.

WY Quality Counts. (2020). teaching kinds of self-regulation. Web.

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ChalkyPapers. (2023) 'Family-Centered Programs in Early Childhood Classroom'. 15 April.


ChalkyPapers. 2023. "Family-Centered Programs in Early Childhood Classroom." April 15, 2023.

1. ChalkyPapers. "Family-Centered Programs in Early Childhood Classroom." April 15, 2023.


ChalkyPapers. "Family-Centered Programs in Early Childhood Classroom." April 15, 2023.