Date: 11-12-2019

ISSA hosts meeting spotlighting family support and engagement

The recent Thematic Meeting for ISSA Members and partners, Spotlight on Family Support and Engagement, provided an opportunity to facilitate learning among these groups. The meeting focused on participants’ work to build supportive, meaningful and trustful relationships between families, communities and services for families and young children. Such relationships are essential to ensure a healthy environment that nurtures child development and well-being from birth to 8 years of age.

The meeting shared the most current resources centered on family support and engagement in the early years and presented the current challenges faced in the field.

Two panels were facilitated in order to raise discussion about challenges and promising practices faced in this work. The first panel, moderated by representatives of Step by Step Center for Quality in Education, shed light on the reasons why family engagement remains an emotive and topical issue. Stakeholders from the city of Ljubljana discussed the effective practices and policies that can support the transition from family involvement to family engagement. Such policies and practices can facilitate a change from a deficit model that aspires to adopt parents in the methods employed by services, to one a shared power model – involving all types of official and unofficial relationships between services and families.

The second panel, hosted by ISSA, focused on parents as influencers. The panel addressed what extent is there space for parents to voice their needs, demands and collectively influence policies and practice. The panel consisted of representatives of ISSA members and provided insight into how families as advocates can contribute to addressing needs, clarifying rights and solving problems, through influencing policy development and practice.

Site visits were organized, including ISSA Member Mala Ulica Center for children and families, to the Pre-school Education and Schooling Department of City of Ljubljana.

ISSA co-hosted the Thematic Meeting alongside ISSA’s members in Slovenia: Step by Step Center for Quality in Education and Association Mala Ulica - Center for children and families in Ljubljana.