Child Outreach and Family Engagement

This page provides information and resources on child outreach and family engagement.

Child Outreach is a universal developmental screening system designed to screen all children, aged three to five years old. Screening serves as a first step in the identification of children who might have developmental delays or disabilities and who could benefit from intervention. Child Outreach also serves as a resource to families, providing information about general development, the development of their child, opportunities for involvement in their child’s development and information regarding referrals to agencies and community programs.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires states to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities, aged birth to 21, who are in need of early intervention or special education services. In Rhode Island, the Child Outreach Screening Program serves as the vehicle for this requirement for children ages 3, 4, and 5. 

Child Outreach Screening Programs:

  • educate families concerning typical child development; 
  • build community awareness of resources available in the areas of education, medical/family support services, child care; and 
  • identify young children in need of further assessment. 
There is no cost to families for Child Outreach Screening. Child Outreach Screening is provided statewide by local school districts in the following areas:
  • vision, 
  • hearing, 
  • speech/language, and
  • social/emotional and general development. 
The goal of Child Outreach Screening is to provide screening for every 3, 4, and 5 year old Rhode Island child, each year prior to kindergarten. Local school districts report the percentage of the children screened through Child Outreach on an annual basis.

Child Outreach Contacts and Resources

Introduction

In 2004, parents, early childhood educators, and local experts worked with RIDE to develop the Fun Family Activities for Preschoolers, which encompassed Fun Family Activity Cards for Preschoolers, and later in 2004, a parent training series. Then, in 2013, with the release of new state Standards, called the Early Learning and Development Standards, the cards and trainings were updated to now include activities for children ages birth to 60 months.

Fun Family Activity Cards

Fun Family Activities cards give parents information and enjoyable ways to support the development and learning of young children at home. The activities are meant to help your child develop skills that are important for future learning and will further support a Standards-based education children may receive in early care and education settings. The Fun Family Activity Cards will soon be available through a link on this page.

Fun Family Activity Card Training

The training series titled Fun Family Activities is based on the knowledge that parents have a critical role in supporting children’s learning and development and preparing children for later school success. The content of the training builds upon information published within the Fun Family Activity cards and incorporated the latest research and best practice in both early childhood development and parenting.

At the start of the training, each participant receives a packet of Fun Family Activity Cards and a treasure box to hold their initial set of activity cards. During subsequent sessions, participants focus on the nine domains addressed in the RI Early Learning and Development Standards. They learn about each domain, review relevant research that impacts their role as parents, and experience fun and creative ways to support their child’s learning in each area through home and community activities.

The trainings are built on the premise that children learn best through play and as a result the trainings are very interactive, hands on and play-based. Thus, participants engage in a variety of activities utilizing materials and resources that are low cost and accessible. Participants are then encouraged to replicate the activities with their own child when they return home. Participants also spend time individualizing their treasure boxes by creating additional activity cards that represent their own child’s development, interests, and learning styles and reflect each family’s unique culture. As a result of participation in this training, families will:

  • discover new, enjoyable, and creative ways to support their child’s growth and development,
  • learn specific ways to support their child in the nine areas of learning addressed in the RI Early Learning Standards,
  • create individualized Family Treasure Boxes with activities that reflect each family’s unique culture and values,
  • strengthen connections with community organization and public institutions such as the public schools, libraries, parks and recreation facilities and more, and
  • commit to ongoing involvement in their child’s education.

About the Training

At the start of the training, each participant receives a packet of Fun Family Activities and a treasure box to hold their initial set of activity cards. During subsequent sessions, participants focus on the eight domains addressed in the RI Early Learning Standards. They learn about each domain, review relevant research that impacts their role as parents, and experience fun and creative ways to support their child’s learning in each area through home and community activities.

Participants engage in a variety of activities utilizing materials and resources that are low cost and accessible. Participants are then encouraged to replicate the activities with their own child when they return home.

Participants then spend time individualizing their treasure boxes by creating additional activity cards that represent their own child’s development, interests, and learning styles and reflect each family’s unique culture.

About Fun Family Facilitators

The Fun Family Activities trainings are led by well-qualified facilitation teams whose members hold the following credentials:

  • Expert knowledge in early childhood development
  • Knowledge and experience in the areas of family engagement and parent training
  • Experience facilitating a group process
  • Knowledge of the Rhode Island Early Learning and Development Standards through participation in Early Learning and Development Standards professional development plus experience applying the Standards to early childhood and parenting practice
  • Experience working with the population represented by the participant group

To learn more about upcoming Fun Family Activities trainings please contact:
Rhode Island Parent Information Network
1210 Pontiac Ave, Cranston, RI 02920
(401) 270-0101
www.ripin.org

Additional Resources

RIDE has also developed a Parent Guide which includes information for families and caregivers on how they can use the Standards with their child, why Standards for children are important, what families should know about selecting a Standards-based early care and education program as well as resources for additional information. The Parent Guide is meant to serve as a brief guide which provides families the key information they should know about the Standards.
RI Early Learning and Development Standards Parent Guide [PDF, 3MB]

Fun Family Activities for Pre-Schoolers is filled with information and enjoyable ways to support the development and learning of your preschool child. The activities in each of the eight sections are based on the Rhode Island Early Learning Standards are are designed to help your child develop skills that are important for kindergarten. They were developed by a group of Rhode Island parents, teachers and other early childhood leaders in hopes that mothers and fathers, grandparents and caregivers will use these activities with the preschool children in their lives.

Play, Play and More Play
Children learn best through play. When you begin to use these activities, your child will learn new skills and develop a love for learning. Most are designed to fit into your day-to-day activities.

Design Your Own Treasure Box
Some families have created a Treasure Box to hold their activity cards. Try using a child's shoebox, a tissue box, or other household container as a special holder for the cards. Use paints, markers or crayons with your child to decorate the box. Personalize your Treasure box with photos of your child. Use your imagination and have fun.

Create Your Own Activities
We encourage you to create activities to ad to this packet. Talk with other parents and your child's teacher to come up with new ideas. Then, use the back of the cards or make additional cards to write down your very own family activities.

Before You Begin
Think about the ways you want your child to grow and learn during this important time in their life and then write down your answers to the following questions:

  • What are your child's favorite toys and activities?
  • What are some of your child's strengths?
  • What do you most want your child to learn?
As you review each section of the packet, keep your answers in mind and choose activities that match your child's interests. Select activities that are not only fun, but will help your child learn the skills you think are important.


When It's Time For Kindergarten
 
As your child is getting ready to enter kindergarten, think about the activities you have enjoyed together and the ways your child has grown and developed. Write down your answers to the following questions. Share this information with your child's kindergarten teacher to help them get to know your child.

  • What activities in this kit did your child enjoy the most?
  • How does your child learn best?
  • What are some of the new skills that your child has developed over the last year?
  • In what ways would you like to see your child continue to grow and develop?

Resource PDFs

Acknowledgements
We want to extend our sincerest thanks to the parents, teachers and early childhood leaders who drew from their expertise and experience as parents to come up with winning ideas to incclude in this first edition of Fun Family Activities for Pre-Schoolers.

Wendy Alarie Tracey Maron
Elise Bender Barbara Mays-Stock
Barbara Burgess Evie Martin
Shanon Connor Donna Nabb
Mary Cowger Tami Neill
Gail DeRobbio Karen Pucciarelli
Iris Diaz Joan Serra
Stacy Gamba Judy Soscia
Maureen Greaves Grace Swinski
Jessica Harris Maureen Tissiere
Wendy Lopes Ann Ullucci
Desiree Manley Nancy West

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