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Home Visiting. Guidelines for Success. Why are Home Visits Important?. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Home Visiting

Guidelines for SuccessHome Visiting

Home visits are valuable in building respectful relationships with parents and in developing a broad understanding of every child in the program. The visits enhance adults knowledge and understanding of the developmental progress of their child. Why are Home Visits Important?

Home Visits help school staff get to know families and to use that information to connect with their students.By developing positive rapport, teachers can develop a partnership with parents in support of student learning.Building Rapport

Home Visits are not a new concept.

Home Visits have been around since the inception of Head Start in the 1960s and the beginnings of the KERA preschool program in 1990.

Home Visit History

Some parents may be reluctant to come to school because they feel uncomfortable.Some parents may feel they dont trust the school personnel.Some parents may have negative memories of their own schooling.Some parents may be unable to come to school because of transportation or child care problems, or their work conflictsFamily Barriers

Per KY Preschool ,Head Start, and JCPS regulations, Early Childhood teachers are required to make a minimum of two home visits to the home of each child each year. Home visits must occur in the enrolled childs home unless the parents expressly forbid such visits.


Make appointments in advance, and schedule the visit to accommodate family schedules. Find out if a brief 20-30 minute visit is feasible. The initial contact can be made by letter or telephone. Follow up with reminders.Planning the Home Visit

Be clear about the purpose of your visit (e.g., get to know family, share curriculum materials).Assure the family that the purpose is not to pass judgment on the family members and their home.Set the Tone

If calling by phone, practice how you will explain it to the family member when you call so your first communication goes smoothly.Learn names of family members and about the familys culture so you can predict their language uses, social expectations and traditions.First Impression

Plan a brief agenda and think about ways to initiate topics without playing 20 questions.Planning for Success

What will you do to introduce yourself and establish rapport?What do you want to know about the parents (e.g., background, interests, hopes, dreams, goals for child)? What do you want to know about the child (interests, significant experiences, upcoming events, strengths, perceived learning needs, interactions with others)?Questions to Ask Yourself

Dear Parents,It is very important to me that we find ways to communicate with each other to support your childs involvement in your childs education. This year I am organizing home visits as a way to reach out to families and get to know them better. I would like to set up a time to come to your home for a brief 20-30 minute visit. I would like to learn more about you, your family and your hopes and dreams for your childs education. Please fill out the slip below and have your child return it to me by ____, and I will be contacting you. I am very excited about this new opportunity to get to know you!Sincerely,_____________++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Students Name: ____________________Parent/Guardian Name: ____________________Relationship to Student: ____________________Yes, we are interested in setting up a home visit! Please contact us by: ___ Telephone: _______________Best time to call: _______________ Email: ___________________________________________Making ConnectionsSample Letter / Phone Script:

Here is an example of a phone call made to set up a home visit and to clarify the purpose:

Hello, Ms. Smith? This is Mary Jones. I am going to be Sams teacher this year. I am looking forward to coming to visit him in your home. I can either come Monday or Tuesday. Which day would be best for you? When I come, I wont be staying long about 20 minutes. I will be spending time with Sam so we can get to know each other better. I also have some information to share with you about our program and a few forms to complete. Im sure you will have some questions, so Ill be bringing a form on which you can write them down. Or at the end of the visit, you can let me know your concerns and we can talk about them later. Sample Phone Call

The Beginning of the VisitAt the beginning of the visit, you might feel like you are doing a lot of talking to set the scene and get the conversation going. Monitor the situation as it unfolds and be sure to provide plenty of openings for the family to share information and ask questions. Remember, you are visiting to learn about the family to share information and ask questions. Remember, you are visiting to learn about the family and will not come away with as much information if you do all the talking!What Happens When Im There?Families have a wealth of information and experiences they can share with you. These can also become valuable resources for your classroom as you and the families get to know each other better. Be sure to look for openings to encourage family members to be active participants in your classroom and school.During the Visit

Describe your typical daily schedule and routine in the classroom.Review your discipline system for your classroom and the parent handbook. Go over opportunities for helping with learning at home or volunteering in the classroom. Provide reminders of and or secure signatures on important documents (e.g., volunteer checks, permission forms, immunization documents, transportation release forms). Discussion ItemsLet the family members know you are listening by giving non-verbal cues (eye contact, facial expression, gestures) and responding to information and ideas they share. Keep in mind that some parents may show great deference to you because of your role as teacher or because they think you know more due to your education and background. Try to help them see that you value what they have to offer.

Active ListeningCommunication styles differ from family to family and how families communicate in the home may look very different from how they interact at school. Depending on their cultural backgrounds, and use of native language in the home, you will need to take cues from family members about what communication style will feel comfortable for them. You may also learn new ways to communicate with students of a particular culture that will help you interact with them more successfully in school. Honor Diversity

Be aware of the time, and bring your visit to a close at the agreed upon ending time for your visit.Decide with the family next steps for communication with them. For example: Will you continue to keep in touch by phone or e-mail?Will parents volunteer in the classroom or school? Are there materials, resources, or other forms of support they would like you to provide to support their childs learning at home. Concluding the VisitDont forget to thank the family for inviting you into their home. This may have felt like a great risk for them, and you want to acknowledge your appreciation for their willingness to share their ideas with you. Dont Forget

Home visiting offers staff an opportunity to meet families in their own surroundings. Most settings and situation are safe and non-threatening. However, being aware of safety issues and taking appropriate precautions is important. Safety First

Make sure someone is aware of your plans.Always leave complete information with co-workers and school office staff by including the: Familys name and phone numberAddress of the visitTime and length of the visitExpected time of returnWear easily recognizable JCPS identificationUse common sense and trust your judgment and leave immediately if there is danger.Know the neighborhoods that you visit through observation and by getting to know important details from the people you visit.

Plan Ahead for SafetyMake sure that you are well and that the family members are well when you make your visit, to avoid spreading communicable diseases. Your Health Coordinator is always available for consultation.Be aware of your surroundings:Get clear directions to the homeCheck with the family about parking, pets, etc.Be aware of people, lighting, bushesBring only what you need for the visitCarry your keys in your handWalk assertivelyUse common sense and trust your judgment. If you feel unsafe, leave. If you believe family members in the home are unsafe call the police. In rare situations, a visit to the home is not safe. Make a plan with co-workers, your supervisor, and or resource teacher before visiting families when you have a safety concern.

SOURCE: PSESD GUIDE TO HEAD START HOME VISIT SAFETY TIPSHome Visit Safety ContinuedJimmy Wathen School Readiness SpecialistJefferson County Public SchoolsEarly Childhood Programs


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