Early Head Start Family Engagement

Parent and family engagement in Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS) is about building relationships with families that support family well-being, strong relationships between parents and their children, and ongoing learning and development for both parents and children. The Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework is a road map for progress in achieving the kinds of outcomes that lead to positive and enduring change for children and families. The PFCE Framework was developed in partnership with programs, families, experts, and the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. It is a research-based approach to program change that shows how an agency can work together as a whole—across systems and service areas— to promote parent and family engagement and children’s learning and development.

Head Start Parent and Family Engagement Outcomes

Parents and families are safe, healthy, and have increased financial security.

Examples of Family Progress
  • Have considered the benefits of participating in different program services and/or activities.
  • Developed relationships with staff that are helpful in supporting the goals they have established for themselves and their children.
  • Identified their individual family strengths to cope with difficulties and overcome adversity.
  • Accessed resources and systems of support that meet family interests, needs and goals.

Beginning with transitions to parenthood, parents and families develop
warm relationships that nurture their child’s learning and development.

Examples of Family Progress:
  • Gained knowledge and experience around expectant parenting and prenatal health, the developing role of young parents (for adolescent parents), and/or about their roles as new mothers and fathers.
  • Learned new ways to ensure the health and safety of their developing child.
  •  Gained knowledge about their children’s social, emotional and cognitive development in the context of community
    and culture.
  • Learned new ways to understand and respond to their child’s behavior.
  • Used positive parenting practices—such as attachment and nurturing relationships—that complement the stages of their child’s development.
  • Reflected on parenting experiences, practices and new strategies.

Parents and families observe, guide, promote, and participate in
the everyday learning of their children at home, school, and in their

Examples of Family Progress:
  • Shared their knowledge of their children with program and teaching staff to inform teaching and learning.
  • Identified their talents and strengths as parents and educators of their children.
  • Enjoyed and celebrated their child’s learning and developmental accomplishments
  • Learned more about the social-emotional development of their infants and toddlers.
  • Learned about the value of the primary language for children’s development and long-term academic success (for parents of dual language learners).
  • Partnered with teachers/assistant teachers and used different approaches in the program, home and/or community that supported the essential learning outlined in the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework.
  • Learned about options for acquiring services and supports for their child’s learning, developmental, or behavioral challenges.
  • Gained confidence and competence in voicing, acting on, and achieving lifelong learning goals for their children.

Parents and families advance their own learning interests through
education, training and other experiences that support their parenting,
careers, and life goals.

Examples of Family Progress:
  • Identified their strengths as learners, and reflected on their parenting, career and life interests.
  • Learned about experiences, training and educational opportunities that relate to their interests.
  • Set learning goals that aligned with their interests and career aspirations.
  • Enrolled in courses or training programs that led toward GED, certifications and/or other degrees.
  • Participated in learning experiences that supported their parenting, career or life goals.
  • Considered goals related to volunteer and employment options with Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

Parents and families support and advocate for their child’s learning and
development as they transition to new learning environments, including
EHS to HS, EHS/HS to other early learning environments, and HS to
kindergarten through elementary school.

Examples of Family Progress:
  • Gained understanding of the social and emotional impacts of transitions on children.
  • Learned about their role in creating continuity for children as they transition into kindergarten.
  • Learned about the culture, norms and opportunities of their child’s future early care and education settings.
  • Anticipated and recognized their child’s adaptive needs as changes and transitions occurred in early childhood education and school settings.
  • Built upon their strengths as program/school advocates through participation in program supported transition activities.
  • Accessed information about existing local parent-to-parent organizations, family peer networks, and parent-initiated school-community efforts in order to continue engagement in new settings.

Parents and families form connections with peers and mentors in formal
or informal social networks that are supportive and/or educational and
that enhance social well-being and community life.

Examples of Family Progress:
  • Connected with other parents and families to exchange knowledge and resources.
  • Engaged in problem-solving and decision-making with staff, parents and families.
  • Experienced the personal value of relationships, connections and experiences in the program and community.
  • Developed a sense of self-efficacy through parent-to-parent experiences that support mothers, fathers, and other parenting caregivers in their relationships with one another.
  • Gained a sense of empowerment through the validation that comes with peer-to-peer shared experiences.
  • Volunteered in the program or in other community-based organizations.

Parents and families participate in leadership development, decision-making, program policy development, or in community and state
organizing activities to improve children’s development and learning

Examples of Family Progress:
  • Learned about their opportunities to engage in leadership and /or advocacy activities (eg. policy council).
  • Built upon their strengths as leaders and/or advocates through parent-initiated participation in program-supported
    activities such as advocacy and leadership trainings, parent committees, policy councils, etc.
  • Accessed information about existing parent-to-parent organizations, family peer networks and/or parent-initiated school-community efforts in order to continue to be leaders/advocates in the community and as their children transition into kindergarten.

Early Head Start Mobile Mid-Year Family Survey 2017

Thank you for taking the time to complete our Mid-Year Parent Survey!