The family is the primary force in preparing children for school and life, and children benefit when the adults who care for them work together. When families take the lead and make decisions about their children’s learning, they are truly engaged. Positive goal-directed relationships between families and program staff are key to engagement and children’s school readiness. NFCD promotes a systemic, integrated, and comprehensive focus on family engagement helping families prepare their children to learn and thrive in school. School readiness is the process of early learning and development, from infancy to school age, when children gain the skills and attitudes they need to succeed in school. School readiness typically refers to the five areas of readiness; health and physical development; social and emotional development; approaches to learning; language development and communication; and cognition and knowledge.
NFCD utilizes outcome tools to develop goals and measurable objectives and track progress toward achieving them. Many programs use published or locally designed tools to support their ongoing monitoring process. Other helpful sources of information include conversations with key staff and stakeholders (e.g., Policy Council and parent committee) and observations of staff who interact regularly with families (e.g., teachers, family service staff, home visitors, health services staff, bus drivers). Summaries of family input are vital outcomes.