Best Practices in Family Literacy in Ontario
Go to the People
Live with them,
Learn from them,
Start with what they know,
Build with what they have,
But of the best leaders,
When the work is done,
The task accomplished,
The people will all say,
“We have done this ourselves.”
— Lao Tsu, China, 700 B.C. —
A quality family literacy program has a clearly written mission
statement that is built on carefully considered values and beliefs.
This philosophy is communicated to everyone involved with the
program and is reviewed regularly.
Ask yourself how these statements apply to your program.
Our family literacy program/agency …
- has developed a clearly written statement describing our mission and vision.
- has a related list of values/principles that guides our practice, and is reviewed
regularly by participants, staff, advisors, and the Board of Directors.2
- expects staff and volunteers to explore their personal beliefs about family
literacy, and how these affect their ability to deliver the program.3
- respects the strengths and skills found within all families. Does not try to “fix”
families, but works to effect change by building on literacy behaviours that
are already present in homes, and on positive shared experiences.
- recognizes the rich diversity of the families that the program serves, respects
their backgrounds, and encourages use of participants’ first languages.
- develops curricula that are relevant to the lives of participants and effective in
meeting their particular learning needs.
- provides a literacy-rich learning environment that is comfortable for all ages.
Practitioners use a variety of approaches and instructional methods, and
program materials follow the principles of clear language and design.
- recruits well-qualified staff and volunteers who receive clear job descriptions,
training, professional development opportunities and ongoing support.
- collaborates and partners with other agencies to provide a seamless web of
family support services in our community.
- conducts regular assessments to ensure the needs and priorities of
participants are being met, and to meet short and long term program goals
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