Families and Schools Together (FAST)

young boy with three books and an apple. chalkboard behind him says Back to School

“FAST, at its essence, helps families build healthy relationships whether that’s within their family, the family and the community, or the family and the school. FAST nurtures the relationships between all of those groups. For little ones, it’s about building strong relationships before school so that they are ready for school. We create teams to meet the needs of children and families, giving them a strong start. Our providers are also representative of the families they serve.” – Toni Rivera, Executive Director

Background: Families and Schools Together, known as FAST, is an award-winning, evidence-based program that helps kids succeed in school and in life. Focused on family strengthening, parent engagement, and social capital, FAST uses a variety of research-based activities to empower parents and strengthen the relationships between families, schools, and the community. FAST is a highly successful program that has been implemented throughout the United States and in more than 18 other countries. Their mission is to nurture the inherent potential of every child by uniting families, schools, and communities.

FAST is an 8-week program with parents and children at a school or nonprofit setting. The program works on different activities to build relationships. During FAST, families have an opportunity to spend time together, eat a meal, play games, and get to know other families. The FAST Team invites families to “just try it once.” The result: 80% of families who attend one FAST Session will successfully complete the program. The ultimate aim of Early Childhood FAST is to strengthen infant/toddler/preschooler development within their social ecological relationships by offering repeated positive interactions in a safe, nurturing, and predictable setting. The program also aims to increase the likelihood of each child being successful at home, eventually in school, and in the community.

Resources can be found on the FAST blog.

With PDG funding, FAST is piloting the Early Childhood FAST program in each of the five (5) Preschool Development Grant regions. This program partners the Early Childhood FAST programs with Family Resource Centers in each of the five regions:

The first of its kind, Early Childhood FAST will support strong relationships between families with children under the age of 5 and their local Family Resource Center. The comprehensive early childhood training series pilot includes 3 cycles of the EC FAST training program for parents/children in each of the five sites and two FAST Institute professional development sessions for staff/personnel at each of the five identified pilot sites. Each Family Resource Center is now trained to offer the Early Childhood FAST series beyond this grant.

<< Back to PDG Partners page