COVID-19 and the Head Start Community

Engaging Families and Children

Even while maintaining social distance, staff should be in regular phone and electronic communication with families to the extent feasible, providing engagement and other program services. This section is regularly updated with the most relevant guidance and resources. Other helpful tips are available under Resources for Parents and Families During Remote Service Delivery. All published resources are listed under Recent Updates.

A Guide to Safety Conversations with Families
Find strategies to support ongoing home safety conversations with families using these checklists.

The Importance of Schedules and Routines
Learn the difference between schedules and routines and why they are important. Discover ways to partner with families on schedules and routines and reinstate them when programs reopen.

Engaging Families When There Is Child Welfare Involvement
Learn ways to partner with families when there is child welfare agency involvement. Discover how to use both a strengths-based and trauma-informed approach to build trusting relationships with families. Find scenarios to help you practice applying these strategies with families.

Engaging with Families in Conversations About Sensitive Topics
In this resource, find tips and approaches to help staff talk with families about sensitive topics.

Infant Mental Health: Telehealth Services [PDF, 4.3MB]
Mental health providers, home visitors, teachers, and family services staff can use this tip sheet to help frame their outreach to families via telephone or video calls.

Making Videos at Home: Tips for Educators
Explore useful tips for making simple videos to share with and support families. If Head Start teachers and families have access to technology, teachers can post videos of themselves online or use direct video messaging. Teachers and home visitors can reassure children of all ages with simple and consistent messages. Use children's names and do a familiar greeting, song, or finger play. There are many examples to draw from online. Remember that many families are under enormous stress. They do not need to duplicate all the educational experiences that happen at a center. They should focus on keeping themselves and children safe and healthy.

Connect with staff from around the country to exchange ideas and share resources. There are regularly scheduled orientations for new users. Consider joining the PFCE Deepening Practice; Health, Safety, and Wellness; Mental Health Consultation; Teacher Time; and Home Visiting communities.

Preparing for Challenging Conversations with Families
Discover ways to prepare for conversations that include challenging topics. These conversations can be used to engage families, strengthen relationships, and build trust. It may be difficult to begin discussing a challenging topic with a family. Explore this resource to learn how and why staff should prepare for challenging conversations.

Stay Connected to Decrease Family Stress in Difficult Times
In this video, Dr. Bergeron is joined by Kiersten Beigel, family and community partnerships specialist at OHS. They discuss how to partner with families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Offering compassion, connection, and care can decrease parental stress. Addressing immediate stressors related to food, rent support, or healthcare can also help. Dr. B and Kiersten suggest ways programs can find out what is going on with children at home.

Strategies to Support Families Who May Be Experiencing Domestic Violence
Head Start and Early Head Start programs can use this resource to learn more about working with families and children who may be experiencing violence. This information is particularly useful during periods when communities must stay at home. Find guiding questions and action steps for building effective, engaged, collaborative relationships to strengthen family well-being.

Tips for Family Services Staff Working Remotely with Families
Find tips for family services staff and other direct service professionals who are teleworking with Head Start and Early Head Start families.

Tips for Supervising Family Services Staff Who Are Working Remotely
Supervisors can use these tips to support family services staff and other direct service professionals who are teleworking with families.

Culturally Responsive Supports for Children and Families During Social Distancing
Early childhood educators can support learning at home for young children and their families in culturally and linguistically responsive ways. This tip sheet provides resources and strategies to help.