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  A wooden tool box with a hammer and wrench inside   Family Exploration and Learning Toolkit Logo

 

 Family Exploration and Learning Toolkit 

 

Purpose

Research documents the positive difference family engagement and support makes in the academic development and social competence of children. Families can often benefit from access to opportunities, relationships, and supports to better understand how they can engage their children’s natural curiosity and love for learning in the context of everyday activities at home and in the neighborhood. The purpose of the Family Exploration and Learning Toolkit is to provide a tool families can use to engage their children in activities that support their social and emotional development and academic success as part of everyday activities taking place at home.

Family Exploration and Learning Toolkit was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement Fund for the Improvement of Education as part of the Virtual School Readiness Incubator Project and the Florida Institute of Education at the University of North Florida. These materials are still in the refinement phase and should be used with this caution in mind. The content of the Toolkit does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of or imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education and/or the University of North Florida.

 

Guiding Principles 

  • Fostering learning opportunities (through play and literacy-related, everyday activities) promotes children’s use of important learning skills;
  • Meaningful family engagement is a shared responsibility in which schools, community agencies and organizations, and families work together in meaningful ways to support children’s learning and development.
  • Engaging in consistent, positive home-school interactions fosters meaningful family engagement.
  • Meaningful family engagement can be embedded in the daily activities taking place at home and in the neighborhood.
  • Strengthening adult-child conversations, connections with each other, and connections with the school and neighborhood fosters meaningful family engagement.

Overview 

The Family Exploration and Learning Toolkit is a set of activities to help families use materials available in the home and natural environment to turn everyday events into learning experiences. The activities are designed to help families create home environments that support their children’s social and emotion development and academic success. Completing the activities and reading the specially written books in each Strand will help both families and children strengthen their knowledge and skills.

 

The Toolkit is divided into six Strands; the activities in all six Strands of the Toolkit are based on standards developed by the State of Florida for what your child should know and be able to do to be ready for school. The Strands can be used in any order.

 

Childcare and family involvement center professionals are encouraged to share the Toolkit with preschool and kindergarten families. The specific knowledge and skills developed by families and children as they use the Toolkit materials is presented in the following chart.

 

 Family Exploration and Learning Toolkit Table of Specifications

 

 

So their children will…
UPDATED 11.22.2011
Parents will be able to create a home environment that supports their children’s social and emotional development and academic success by…
Recognize and manage their emotions/ Identify and manage one’s emotions and behaviors Interact comfortably with others/ Show an understanding of words and their meanings Show care and concern for others/ recognize feelings and perspectives of others Use an expanded vocabulary to describe many objects, actions, and events/ Use new vocabulary that is introduced in conversations Demonstrate the ability to prevent, manage, and resolve interpersonal conflicts in constructive ways/ Use language to express needs and feelings, share experiences, and resolve conflicts Use an expanded vocabulary to describe many objects, actions, and events/ Use new vocabulary that is introduced in conversations (REPEAT OF STRAND FOUR)
STRAND ONE: How Are You Feeling? STRAND TWO: You Are Not Alone STRAND THREE: What’s Up With You? STRAND FOUR: Let’s Talk About It! STRAND FIVE: Deal With It! STRAND SIX: The Power of Words
Engaging their children in conversations in the context of everyday life that extend learning and increase understanding. THEME: Places We Go
(Going to the Grocery Store)
THEME: Why We Do Things (Family at the Movies) THEME: Everyday Living (Sorting Laundry) THEME: Places We Go
(Going to a Restaurant)
THEME: How Things Work  
(The Washing Machine)
THEME: Things We Do for Fun
(Recess)
THEME: What Does That Mean?
(Pledge of Allegiance)
THEME: Why We Do Things
(Life at School)
Interacting with their children in ways that are responsive to and supportive of the children’s initiatives thereby strengthening self-concept THEME: Everyday Living
(Showing Independence)
THEME: Places We Go
(Friend’s Birthday Party)
THEME: Things We Do for Fun
(Having a Play Date) THEME: Why We Do Things
(Helping a Friend)
THEME: What Does That Mean?
(What Did You See on Your Journey?)
THEME: What Does That Mean?
(Managing Conflict)
THEME: How Things Work
(Elevator)
Teaching their children constructive ways to solve interpersonal conflicts. THEME: Things We Do for Fun (Let’s Solve the Problem) THEME: What Does That Mean? (Feeling Rejected) THEME: Things We Do for Fun (Playing with Peers) THEME: How Things Work
(How Do Batteries Work?)
THEME: Everyday Living
 (Time to Compromise)
THEME: Why We Do Things
(Lost and Found)
THEME: Places We Go
(Community Learning)
Modeling positive behaviors in daily life. THEME: Why We Do Things (Don’t Give Up!) THEME: What Does That Mean?
(Observing Yield Signs)
THEME: Everyday Living (Who Needs Help?) THEME: Things We Do for Fun
(Game Time!)
THEME: Places We Go
(A Trip to Buy Food)
THEME: How Things Work
(Toaster Time)
THEME: Everyday Living
(Telephone)

Facilitating learning activities with their children.

THEME: How Things Work
(Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall)
THEME: How Things Work
(Making Muffins)
THEME: What Does That Mean?
(What Does the Body Say?)
THEME: Why We Do Things
(Brush Your Teeth)
THEME: Places We Go
(Talking Tic-Tac-Toe)
THEME: Everyday Living
(Had a Bad Day?)
THEME: Things We Do for Fun
(Show and Tell)