School Readiness in Programs Serving Preschool Children
ACF-PI-HS-11-04

U.S. DEPARTMENT
OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

ACF
Administration for Children and Families

1. Log No. ACF-PI-HS-11-04

2. Issuance Date: 11/08/2011

3. Originating Office: Office of Head Start

4. Key Words: School Readiness Requirements

PROGRAM INSTRUCTION [See Attachment at the bottom]

TO: Head Start and Early Head Start Grantee and Delegate Agencies

SUBJECT: School Readiness in Programs Serving Preschool Children

PURPOSE:
The purpose of this Program Instruction (PI) is to emphasize requirements contained in the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act (the Act) that agencies "...shall establish...program goals for improving school readiness of children participating in a program...including school readiness goals that are aligned with the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework [recently revised as The Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework], State early learning standards as appropriate, and requirements and expectations of the schools the children will be attending." (Head Start Act, section 641A(g)(2)(A))

INSTRUCTION:
The following is intended to provide recommendations about how grantees can comply with the Act's school readiness requirements. School readiness goals are the expectations that children's statuses and progression across domains of language and literacy, cognition and general knowledge, approaches towards learning, physical well-being and motor development, and social and emotional development will improve children's readiness for kindergarten.

Section 641A(g)(2)(A) of the Act requires that each agency establish program goals for improving the school readiness of children participating in its program that align with the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework (formerly The Head Start Child Outcomes Framework), State early learning standards, and the requirements and expectations of the schools, to the extent that they apply to the ages of children participating in the program.

The Office of Head Start believes that it is important that the goals:

  • are appropriate for the ages of children participating in the program;
  • address, at a minimum, the domains of language and literacy, cognition and general knowledge, physical well-being and motor development, social and emotional development, and approaches toward learning; and
  • are established in consultation with parents of children participating in the program. It is expected that this consultation could take a variety of forms, from surveying individual parents about goals for their own children, to talking to policy groups about child outcomes and appropriate program goals for school readiness.

Additionally, and importantly, each agency should be able to demonstrate the steps taken to achieve the school readiness goals described under Section 641A(g)(2) of the Head Start Act as demonstrated by:

  • aggregating and analyzing assessment data at multiple points in a year*, and using that data in combination with other program data to determine progress toward meeting the established goals; to inform parents and the community of results; and to direct continuous program improvements related to curriculum, teaching, and instructional strategies, professional development, program design, and other program decisions; and

    *The Office of Head Start recommends that agencies aggregate and analyze assessment data at least three times during the year (to provide baseline, midpoint, and year end progress); or, for programs operating 90 days or less, two times during the program.
  • analyzing individual, ongoing, child-level assessment data from a variety of sources for all children birth to age 5 participating in the program, and using that data in combination with input from parents and families to determine each child's status and progress with regard to, at a minimum, language and literacy, cognition and general knowledge, approaches toward learning, physical well-being and motor development, and social and emotional development, and to individualize the experiences, teaching, and services to best support each child.

Attached you will find a description of four critical steps which programs can use to assess their own status with regard to school readiness goals. The Office of Head Start and its training and technical assistance partners will continue to provide direction, guidance, and resources that support fulfilling our promise to make sure our children and families are ready for school and beyond.

Please direct any questions on this Program Instruction to:

Amanda Bryans
Education and Comprehensive Services Division Director
Office of Head Start
(202) 205-9380

Thank you for your work on behalf of children and families.

/ Yvette Sanchez Fuentes /

Yvette Sanchez Fuentes
Director
Office of Head Start

Attachment:
     School Readiness Action Steps

See PDF Version of Program Instruction:
     School Readiness in Programs Serving Preschool Children [PDF, 32KB]

School Readiness in Programs Serving Preschool Children. ACF-PI-HS-11-04. HHS/ACF/OHS. 2011. English.

This is a Historical Document.