Parents are the most important influence in a child's development. A strong relationship between families and Head Start staff is essential to promoting healthy child development and positive learning outcomes. We value parents in our program and encourage involvement in all areas such as education, program planning and operating activities.
Family Partnership Agreements
Head Start aims to support the entire family and to assist parents in their personal and family development. A strong, meaningful, and authentic relationship between a staff member and family is the cornerstone of an effective Family Partnership Process. Head Start utilizes a strengths-based approach that identifies, celebrates, and draws on the strengths of families. Family Services Staff work intensely with parents to create goals and to build their capacity as individuals and as families on their path to school readiness.
The Head Start Program offers every family an opportunity to participate in a family assessment, discuss family's goals, and develop a family partnership agreement. The most important aspect of working with families is our ability to develop trusting relationships that allow each family to determine what they want to accomplish, how our staff can assist, and to what extent other community agencies will be involved. Parents are encouraged to focus on their strengths and priorities when developing Family Partnership Agreements (FPA). The Family Services Staff is available to assist and support parents' efforts in achieving their goals. This process is ongoing throughout the year.
Accessing Community Resources and Services
Head Start has established strong partnerships in the community. Collaborations between community agencies plays a crucial role in the comprehensive services that Head Start provides children and their families. By helping to provide access to these community resources, Head Start gives families a way to reach out and develop the foundations they need to reach their goals. These strong community partnerships ensure a seamless and timely delivery of services to families and help avoid the obstacles that often play a large role in the cycle of poverty. The Head Start Family Services Staff are committed to meeting the needs of children and their families through a comprehensive referral system that offers a variety of local community services and resources. Family Services Staff are available to assist families with emergency crisis referrals to local community agencies.
Individualized Education Program (IEP)
Children with IEP will not be excluded from the Head Start Program due to:
- Severity or type of disability
- Attitudes of staff or other parent
- Unfamiliarity with disability
- Limited Accessibility of Location
- Special services or equipment
Head Start teachers collaborate with your child's special education teacher and specialists to include his/her IEP goals into their individual development plan. Parents should inform the Family Advocate/Family Engagement Specialist and Teacher if their child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Please notify the Head Start Teacher when your child's next IEP meeting is scheduled so that he/she may attend.
Parent Education Sessions
Another important part of the program is parent education. A wide variety of training and educational opportunities are available for parents. Training topics are provided to meet the needs of families and include such as nutrition, family literacy, child development, health, etc. These sessions may be held as part of the Local Parent Committee Meetings that all parents are invited and encouraged to attend.
Local Parent Committee Meetings
All parents are automatically members of their Local Parent Committee. Parents are encouraged to participate in the monthly meetings as an opportunity to get together to:
- Elect a site representative to the Policy Council
- Be a family advocate for all children
- Become involved in designing a quality program for their child
- Locate resources in the community to carry out program activities
- Share common interests
- Work with Policy Council to support the development and implementation of the program
- Plan program activities to discuss what parents would like to do
- Assist Head Start staff in selecting employees by participating in the interview process
Parents bring to these meetings their knowledge of their own children and the needs of their families. Parents work together to make the Head Start program successful for children and families, to support each other, and to socialize and build community.
Parent Bulletin Board
The Parent Bulletin Board has information about the classroom, the program, and the community. This information includes the weekly lesson plans; community resources such as food, health, social services; and Local Parent Committee and Policy Council meeting dates.
Parent, Family & Community Engagement Resources