- It’s your son’s first day at a new child care facility. How do you convey information about him to his new caregivers?
- A toddler is placed in foster care. Is there an easy, comfortable way for the foster family to learn about the toddler and her background, and share information about her in the future?
The answer to both questions is All About Me, a scrapbook-type portfolio developed and designed by the Ketchikan Early Childhood Leadership Team: A Best Beginnings Partnership. Although they didn’t invent the concept, they adapted it for use in Alaska, according to Laurie Thomas of the group. Thomas is director of Early Learning Programs at Community Connections, where the design was done completely in-house.
All About Me is a charming, functional, and adaptable tool that is much more than a collection of information. It engages families, invites collaboration, and incorporates the protective factors central to strengthening families. All About Me has a comb binding, which makes it easier to individualize by adding or deleting pages as needed. A page recently added – about the child’s culture – came from feedback at the January statewide meeting of the Association for the Education of Young Children.
Thomas said All About Me is a solution to several challenges: how to engage families, especially when working with multiple families, and how to gather information in the intake process that is helpful, saves time, and is comfortable for families to use.
“We’ve tried different tools but nothing was this clear and simple. It’s also a tool to help families identify their strengths as parents and incorporate protective factors,” Thomas said.
Best Beginnings Partnership Manager Jonathan Teeters calls All About Me a “wonderful example of how partnerships are leveraging support from Best Beginnings to create innovative solutions to some of the more complex challenges young children and families face.”
Thomas is now putting together protocols for using the portfolio in different settings. The version for child care settings is available in PDF format; the only requirement is to include the credits page.