Families and Schools Together® – Early Childhood Education Level

Mental Health Does Not Currently Meet Criteria

Families and Schools Together® (FAST®) – Early Childhood Education Level is a prevention and early intervention parent engagement program designed to serve families with children birth to age 5. FAST – Early Childhood Education Level aims to strengthen parent-child and family relationships, promote children’s social and emotional development and school success, and build supportive connections between parents, early childhood centers or schools, and communities.


FAST – Early Childhood Education Level consists of weekly structured multi-family group sessions followed by monthly unstructured parent review sessions. Each multi-family group session contains three components: Family Table Time with opening activities, Parent(s) and Kids Separate Time, and Family Table Time with closing activities. (1) During Family Table Time, families and FAST team members have a sit-down meal together and complete family craft activities designed to encourage parent leadership and communication within the family unit. (2) During Parent(s) and Kids Separate Time, children participate in age-appropriate activities facilitated by a FAST team member, such as literacy, arts and crafts, and motor activities (Kids Time). Parents participate in one-on-one conversations with other parents (Buddy Time), followed by unstructured discussions about parenting (Parent Group) intended to develop supportive relationships among parents. After meeting separately, each parent-child pair participates in child-led unstructured play (Special Play) and parent-led reading (Special Reading Time). (3) Family Table Time closes each session with announcements and a whole-group circle activity. Additionally, parents are asked to practice Special Play Time with their children in between group sessions.


After families graduate from the weekly multi-family group sessions, parents attend monthly FASTWORKS® meetings to review material and socialize with other parents.

FAST – Early Childhood Education Level does not currently meet criteria to receive a rating because no studies met eligibility criteria for review.

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed: Mar 2022


The program or service description, target population, and program or service delivery and implementation information were informed by the following sources: the program or service manual, and the program or service developer’s website.

This information does not necessarily represent the views of the program or service developers. For more information on how this program or service was reviewed, visit the Review Process page or download the Handbook.

Target Population

FAST – Early Childhood Education Level is designed to serve families with children birth to age 5. Additional family members, including siblings and grandparents, are invited to attend multi-family group sessions.


FAST – Early Childhood Education Level is delivered over 8 weekly multi-family group sessions of 10–15 families. Each session lasts 2.5 hours. Families must attend at least six sessions to graduate. After graduating FAST, parents can attend monthly FASTWORKS sessions. FASTWORKS sessions are typically offered for 24 months.

Location/Delivery Setting
Recommended Locations/Delivery Settings

FAST – Early Childhood Education Level is delivered in early childhood centers, after-school settings, or community settings. Typically, groups are made up of families whose children are in the same classroom, grade level, or school.

Education, Certifications and Training

FAST – Early Childhood Education Level is initiated by a lead agency, which is typically a school or community-based organization, that is responsible for coordinating team members. It is delivered by at least five team members. The team includes one mother partner and one father partner, who are graduates of the program or have an infant or toddler enrolled at the center or school; one center partner who is a teacher or assistant at the center or school; and two community partners with expertise in mental health, substance abuse, or other challenges families in the community may experience. Teams can also include a grandparent partner, a recreational coordinator to facilitate Kids Time, and volunteers to provide childcare to participating families. Teams must be representative of participating families in terms of race, ethnicity, culture, and language. FASTWORKS is led by parent partners who have graduated from the program.

All team members participate in an initial 2-day training with a certified trainer. Following training, the trainer supports the team as they implement their first 8-week FAST cycle, including direct observation of three sessions. Following the 8-week cycle, the team participates in a final 1-day training with the trainer.

FAST team members who wish to become certified FAST Trainers can participate in a 5-day training and complete a training internship over the course of an 8-week FAST multi-family group session. Trainers are required to re-certify every 3 years.

Program or Service Documentation
Book/Manual/Available documentation used for review

McDonald, L. (2020). Early childhood education (ECE) FAST. Families and Schools Together, Inc.

Available languages

FAST – Early Childhood Education Level materials are available in English.

Other supporting materials

ECE FAST Overview

FAST Training Information

For More Information

Website: www.familiesandschools.org

Phone: (888) 629-2481

Email: answers@familiesandschools.org

Note: The details on Dosage; Location; Education, Certifications, and Training; Other Supporting Materials; and For More Information sections above are provided to website users for informational purposes only. This information is not exhaustive and may be subject to change.

Results of Search and Review Number of Studies Identified and Reviewed for Families and Schools Together® – Early Childhood Education Level
Identified in Search 0
Eligible for Review 0
Rated High 0
Rated Moderate 0
Rated Low 0
Reviewed Only for Risk of Harm 0