Many children and parents receive Early Head Start and Head Start services right in their own home! Home visitors come once a week and work with parents and their children.
Every year, children and families transition into and out of your program. Whether moving from home to an early education program or from one early education setting to another, transition presents children and families with opportunities and challenges. Transitioning to a new environment can be exciting and interesting, but also challenging and stressful. Collaborating with families to create well-planned, respectful practices can help make transition a positive experience for all children and families, as well as for you and others who work with them.
During the course of a child’s life, change is inevitable. Families move, siblings are born, school begins and, consequently, transitions happen. Knowing about children’s development can help us understand how children respond to transition. In addition, when program staff collaborate with families, they can learn how individual children experience change. Staff can also learn how to help children feel secure and comfortable during transition.
Facilitating Change Conversations That Help: Handout 1 - Talking about Depression with Families: A Resource for Early Head Start and Head Start Staff
Depression is common—and very common in the Early Head Start (EHS)/ Head Start (HS) population. A recent study found that 52% of mothers in the EHS program reported enough depressive symptoms to be considered depressed.1 Untreated parental depression can lead to poor outcomes for their children. Children with depressed mothers are more likely to have behavior problems, academic concerns and poor health.2 Parental depression can interfere with the parent-child relationship, creating uncertainty, anxiety and toxic stress for the child. Parental depression may also impair the parent’s ability to prevent injury, making them less likely to use car seats, apply electric outlet covers, install smoke alarms or successfully manage chronic health conditions.
Supporting transitions can have positive effects on children and families, and collaboration is key to effective transition. Each brief in this series focuses on a different partnership level: the child and family, early educators, early care and education (ECE) programs, and ECE partners.
Watch this presentation that explores ways to engage families in the home-based program model, building strong relationships between the home visitor and the family. The video benefits home visitors and anyone who supports home visiting programs.
The way your physical environment is set up sends powerful messages to the infants and toddlers in your care. What messages does your physical environment convey to young children? Are they positive messages of security, trust, comfort, and belonging? Does it offer children the freedom to move and explore? This podcast focuses on the concept of environmental messages, how the physical environment impacts relationships between children and adults, and offers strategies and suggestions for creating and sustaining environments that convey positive messages.
Even the youngest children are able to tell us in a variety of ways what they want and need. Caring adults invite their opinions, and listen when they provide them. When we show babies that their choices are important to us, we teach them self-awareness and self-confidence. This podcast highlights the importance of communicating with infants and toddlers, and following their lead as they explore their environment.
Children are busy learning how their needs will be met by the adults who care for them. This podcast looks at the value of predictable routines to help young children build a sense of trust and security. Home visitors and child care providers will hear tips for creating meaningful routines.
The work that Early, Migrant and Seasonal, and American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Head Start programs do with children from birth to 5 years of age, their families, and communities is intended to be imbedded in a context of strong relationships and intentional, individualized, responsive interactions. This podcast, which opens the Caring Connections podcast series, highlights the importance of the adult-child relationship and interactions as the base for all work in Early, Migrant and Seasonal, and AIAN Head Start programs.