When you are assessing a child's development, keep in mind the needs, strengths, and values of the child's family. Turn to parents for their insights and knowledge of their child. Regular exchanges of information about the child help to build a collaborative relationship.

  • Share descriptive stories that focus on the child's overall strengths and progress.
  • Ask the family if they have noticed the same behaviors. Be sure to explain that each child has her own rate of development.
  • Have brief, one-on-one chats during drop-off or pick-up or arrange for phone conversations.
  • Take photographs to help share children's newly acquired skills. Videotape children during different times of the day over a month and share the video during a parent meeting.
  • Send newsletters home with descriptions of important experiences.
  • Hold parent-teacher conferences. Prepare for these by making several written observations of the child so that you can describe specific behaviors. Ask the family if they feel you have offered an accurate picture of their child. If you have concerns about a child's development, discuss them with parents during a private conference without the child, if possible.   
  • Share portfolios that contain written observations of the child; the child's work (including paintings, drawings, and tapes of the child singing or talking); photographs of the child working with materials; and comments that the child has made about her work.