Safe, nurturing and predictable environments are essential for young children's healthy development. We believe that families, as children's primary caregivers, play the most important role in providing safe, nurturing, and predictable environments for children. When families and educators work together in a trusting partnership, they lay the foundation for children's lifelong success.
The resources on this page can help you support and build relationships with your families.
Fun with Feelings
You can use the following resources to support your program's use of Fun with Feelings:
- Resources to support teachers:
- Resources to support families:
- Family Letter: Introduces Fun with Feelings to families. When you distribute the cards to families, include this letter.
- Social Emotional Learning Infographic Handout
- PowerPoint for Family Event: Consider using the presentations below during your Family Event (see pages 14-19 of the Handbook). Presenter Notes are included to help facilitate the event.
- Template Invite for Family Event
Children and families in New York City speak over 180 different languages. As educators, it is our responsibility to ensure that all families have meaningful opportunities to participate in their child’s education no matter what language they speak at home.
We offer several supports that you can use to support families in your program who speak a language other than English.
District Schools and Pre-K Centers
Please visit the Translations and Interpretations Unit web page for language support.
New York City Early Education Centers (NYCEECs)
Over the Phone Interpretation
The DOE offers free access to over-the-phone interpretation services in over 350 languages so staff can communicate with Pre-K for All families who speak a language other than English. Interpretation services are now provided by a new vendor.
You can use the over-the-phone interpretation in three ways:
- when a parent/guardian comes to your school/program
- when you call a parent/guardian
- when a parent/guardian calls you
Follow these four simple steps and a trained interpreter will assist you in communicating with your families:
- Step 1: Dial 1-800-890-6867
- Step 2: Provide your 4-letter DOE Site ID
- Note: If you are unsure of your site ID, the operator can identify the correct ID using your program's zip code and/or program name and address.
- Step 3: Indicate the language for which you need an interpreter (or country if you are not sure of their language)
- Step 4: Let the operator know if you need the interpreter to place a call to a family member/caregiver on your behalf.
Please use the instructions going forward. You should discard instructions for Language Line as that vendor is no longer contracted with the DOE.
- 350+ Languages
- Ability to schedule an over-the-phone interpreter in advance
- Dialects may be requested based on region (e.g. Moroccan Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, Yemeni Arabic, etc.)
- Interpreter can call back if the call is disconnected
- Live coordinator can help determine a parent’s language
If you have questions or issues, please email email@example.com.
Translated Templates for Common Letters to Families
We have developed translated templates for common letters to families to assist programs in their efforts to establish strong relationships with all families, including those who speak languages other than English.
Dual Language Classrooms
Dual Language classrooms provide instruction in two languages: English and a second “target” language. Dual Language classrooms enroll a balance of students whose home language is English and students whose home language is the target language. Dual Language classrooms are designed to enable all students to become bilingual.
Dual Language classrooms must be staffed by a teacher who has certification in early childhood education and has obtained the New York State (NYS) Bilingual Extension Certification.
If you are interested in opening a Dual Language classroom at your
The Outreach Team is available to provide support to programs that would like assistance with strategizing around recruitment of new families. Enrollment Specialists on the Outreach Team speak with families all across New York City on a daily basis about early childhood education options. The team connects with families over the phone, at community events, and by leveraging hundreds of community partnerships. Enrollment Specialists can meet with early childhood education program staff to help develop a long-term outreach plan, identify recruitment strategies for programs to incorporate into their own
The Pre-K Quality Snapshot is also available to help families understand quality at Pre-K for All programs. The Snapshot includes results from the NYC School Survey of Families and Teachers as well as data from program assessments (CLASS, ECERS-R, and, for District Schools, the Quality Review). Our goal is to give families information to help them find the program that best meets their child’s needs.
- You can use the resources below to learn more about the Pre-K Quality Snapshot
- To access your program’s Pre-K Quality Snapshot:
- Visit the Pre-K Finder at maps.nyc.gov/prek
- Search for your program
- Click “Pre-K Snapshot”
For questions, or for support with strategizing around recruitment of new families, email OutreachTeam@schools.nyc.gov or call 212-637-8000. If your families have questions about the 3-K for All or Pre-K for All admissions, they can call 718-935-2009, visit our website at nyc.gov/preK or nyc.gov/3k, or go to a Family Welcome Center.
Family Conferences (Parent-Teacher Conferences)
Family-teacher conferences are a time for deepening your relationships with families. These conversations provide an opportunity for teachers to partner with families and to discuss together how they can support their child’s learning and development. Conferences are a great time to have discussions about student progress and a child’s individual needs that build on the shorter casual conversations that you have with families daily.
In order to support ongoing two-way communication between families and teachers, Family-Teacher Conference should be offered throughout the school year. Here are some things to consider when planning for conversations with families:
- Review authentic assessment data, including student observations, work samples, and family-facing reports, to plan family-teacher conferences.
- Allow at least 20 minutes with each family to talk about their child's progress.
- Make sure the timing is convenient for families. Conferences may be held before, during, or after regular program hours.
- Coordinate with other staff in the building such as directors and family engagement staff on early outreach and hosting family activities.
- Advertise the family-teacher conferences by sending home invitations at least 10 days in advance, disseminating flyers via local businesses, electronic mailing lists, the program website, and newspapers. Multilingual flyers can be found on the family-teacher conference website.
- Meet the Language Interpretation Needs of Families. Have interpreters ready to greet parents and provide assistance (you may consider asking family-volunteers to serve as interpreters). Schools can also directly connect with Language Line to obtain an over-the-phone interpreter in any of 200 languages any time of the day.
For additional guidance, review the Teacher Guide to Family-Teacher Conferences. To learn more about the requirements, consult the Pre-K for All Handbook for District Schools and Pre-K Centers (see page 65) or the Pre-K for All Handbook for NYCEECs(see page 104).
Beginningof the Year Resources
- Tips for Easing Separation Anxiety
- Getting to Know Families and Their Children: A Beginning of the Year Questionnaire for Families
- Program Welcome Letter Templates
- Teacher Welcome Letter Templates
DECE - Public Libraries Partnership
Your local public library is a great partner to build family-school connections, and to continue children's learning beyond the classroom and program. Encouraging families to visit and use the resources at your local library is a great way to inspire reading and learning all year long. You may distribute these letters to families at the beginning of the year to let them know about the helpful resources the library offers and how to access them.
If you need more support or cannot find what you are looking for, please contact your DECE Social Worker or email firstname.lastname@example.org.