Organizing a Team to Take Action
Attendance is a concrete reflection of attitudes and habits that accelerate or undercut the success of preschool. Helping children and families develop positive attendance habits touches everyone’s work and permeates the environment. It is influenced by how people are greeted, by how clean visually appealing the building is, by how creative the learning program is. Attendance is the result of not one person’s job – but the cumulative affect of everyone’s efforts. It takes a Village!
Create an attendance team that can monitor attendance and develop a plan that builds on strengths, identifies challenges, and sets priorities for messaging and action. Make sure to establish a schedule for regular meetings. Members can include:
Orient the team to research on chronic absence and the best practices for reducing absenteeism.
Using this toolkit, create a working plan that engages students and families in the importance of preschool attendance. Ask the team to assess any weaknesses in your current program. Determine a set of procedures for recording attendance and a plan for how your program will reach out to families. This should include the form of communication that works best: phone calls, texts, meetings, etc. As you develop your plan, limit your immediate objectives to three, so that you can focus on them.
Engage teachers, social workers and parents in a conversation about the barriers and challenges that families face in your program. Identify community partners who can help with issues beyond the schoolyard.