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Parent Engagement

Parent and family empowerment set the stage for navigating systems and acquiring resources for cultivating a rich foundation for early learning experiences and school readiness.

Often relegated to the margins, parents and caregivers of Latino children are an untapped resource for school systems and care centers.  They are replete with valuable skills, knowledge and experiences that can contribute to building pro-social behavior and confidence in Latino youngsters.  However, institutions are challenged with establishing ongoing and meaningful parent and family engagement that is culturally relevant, linguistically responsive, and accessible.

Abriendo Puertas is the nation’s first evidence-based, popular education, parent leadership training program developed in Spanish by and for Latino parents with children 0-5 years of age, managed and administered by Families in Schools, a California nonprofit organization.  Since bringing the Abriendo Puertas (“Opening Doors”) parent curriculum to Chicago in 2010, the Forum has trained 27 local Latino-serving organizations to deliver the program.  As a result, the more than 1,000 Latino parents will receive the curriculum by the end of 2013 equipping them with knowledge and tools to support their children in three areas—academics, social and emotional development, and health.

Thanks to generous support from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative of the J.B. & M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, the Forum will expand Abriendo Puertas throughout Illinois by offering three train-the-trainer institutes this year compared to a single training in previous years. Each institute will train 20 facilitators representing ten organizations. Each organization, in turn, will train 20 parents within six months of the institute.

In addition to Abriendo Puertas, the Forum convenes opportunities for parents to expand and exercise advocacy efforts through coordinating advocacy days in Springfield and accountability sessions with public officials after the legislative session.  The Forum understands that parental engagement is a necessary pillar in advancing early childhood education outcomes as well as community development.  

To learn more about Abriendo Puertas, participate in the upcoming information session.  

Resources related to our parent engagement work are available below.  For additional information, contact Natalie Vesga.

Photo: JayDunn.com-Hoy Newspaper