Getting Involved in Head Start

Head Start encourages parents and families to become involved in their children’s education, both in and out of the classroom. This fact sheet offers suggestions to parents, and families on how to get involved with the Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

As parents and families of Head Start children, there are many ways for you to become involved and stay engaged in the program, and in your children’s education and future. Research shows that children whose parents are involved in their education do better in school. Getting involved at the preschool level will prepare you to be active once your children enter elementary school, middle school, and high school. Schools need parent and family involvement to succeed just as much as your children do.

As parents and family members, Head Start welcomes you in the classroom. The program also teaches you how to create a learning environment at home in an effort to support classroom learning.

To become better role models for your children, Head Start will help you explore opportunities to expand your education, find or get a better job, and tap into support groups where parents and family members encourage each other.

Advocacy

Head Start recognizes that parents and families are the strongest supporters of their children and encourages involvement as their children’s advocates. By law, Head Start programs must help parents and families support their children as they enter Early Head Start or Head Start, and as they transition from Head Start to kindergarten, another preschool program, or a child care setting.

Some of the ways you can support your children include: 

  • attending Head Start staff/parent meetings;
  • attending training to learn the rights and responsibilities concerning children’s education in school;
  • getting involved in decisions about your children’s education by learning to communicate with teachers and other school staff;
  • serving on a Head Start committee, such as the Policy Council or Health Services Advisory Council;
  • learning how to become involved in developing an Individualized Education Plan if your child has special needs; and
  • learning how to tell your personal story effectively in front of public officials, school officials, and others who can influence how education and other programs for children operate.

Becoming an effective advocate for your children requires becoming involved in their education and their lives. And being involved in your children’s lives is what it takes to be a great and successful parent!

Related Websites

Parents as Teachers National Center
Learn about advocating for programs that help children.

National Parent Teacher Association
Find PTA-developed standards that encourage parent involvement.

Children’s Defense Fund
This organization advocates for  children of low-income and minority families  and for children with disabilities.

Getting Involved in Head Start. HHS/ACF/OHS. English. 2010.

Last Reviewed: September 2010

Last Updated: November 13, 2014