FAMILY AND COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
The Head Start/Early Head Start Program recognizes parents as the
primary teachers and supports the highest level of parent
partnership. Both mothers and fathers play an essential
role in ensuring the well-being of their children.
In the Head Start/Early Head Start program, parent, family and community engagement means building relationships with families that support family well being, strong parent-child relationships and ongoing learning and development of parents and children alike. Family engagement happens in the home, early childhood program, school and community, and is a shared responsibility with all those who support children’s learning.
Head Start Authorization Act
"Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act"
Parent Engagement/Involvement Activities
Families play a vital role in the Head Start and Early Head Start program. Family engagement is the cornerstone of Head Start and Early Head Start program. Parent participation in the design of activities and experiences assist in expanding parental strengths and interests. Involved parents have an opportunity to understand more about how their children grow, develop and become ready for school, promoting family engagement and supporting school readiness.
Head Start and Early Head Start offers parents and families parent education opportunities at center level and through parenting workshops, “Families Turn to Learn” presentations. The workshops are designed to meet parents’ interests in the seven outcome areas within the Office of Head Start - Parent, Family and Community Engagement Framework. This framework demonstrates how family engagement strategies are systemic, integrated and comprehensive across systems and services within the program.
Throughout the 2016-17 program year staff partnered with families to achieve the following outcomes:
·83% of families completed the goal setting process
·94% of families achieved goals in area of “Family Engagement in Transition”
·88% of families achieve goals in area of “Families as Advocates and Learners”
·80% of families achieved goals in area of “Family Well-Being”
·79% of families achieved goals in area of “Positive Parent-Child Relationships”
·79% of families achieved goals in area of “Families as Lifelong Learners”
·69% of families received at least one family service through our program and/or other community agencies
·23 families needed and received language interpretative services
·29 fathers participated in the 24/7 DADS program and Workforce Barrier Project. Of the participants, 30% received referrals that helped with identified needs (i.e child support, job training)
·488 fathers were involved in child development experiences (i.e. Home-School Connection, Home Visits, Parent/Teacher Conferences)
Partnerships and Community Collaborations
The following community partnerships enable Head Start and Early Head Start to maximize families’ interests and to encourage parent and family engagement in learning:
PNC Bank - Budgeting
Teaching Keys – School Readiness
Child Guidance and Family Solutions – Incredible Years
KidFit – Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Summit County Children Services – Child and Family Awareness Activities and Events
Head Start/Early Head Start also seeks to empower families by developing goals for parents and their children. Staff and parents develop Individualized Family Partnership Agreements (FPA’s) that focus on the family's social and economic needs with respect to the uniqueness of each family. In offering parents opportunities and support for growth, parents can identify their own strengths and determine what resources are needed to become self-sufficient.
Establishing trusting and collaborative relationships with families allows parents and staff to learn from one another and to support families in pursuing lifelong goals.