For over fifty years, Head Start* has had a commitment to health and wellness. Promotion and prevention activities are central to the program’s requirement to provide comprehensive services to support children’s healthy growth and development. Today, a growing body of research demonstrates that healthy growth and development are critical for school readiness and later learning. Recent studies suggest that high-quality early childhood health and nutrition services provide the foundation for lifelong wellness.
The Head Start Health Services Competencies Professional Development Assessment (PDA) is a companion document to the Head Start Health Services Competencies: A Tool to Support Health Managers and Staff (The Competencies Tool). The Competencies Tool is a framework for identifying the critical attitudes, knowledge, and skills to implement effective health services. Attitudes refers to what an individual values; knowledge refers to what an individual knows; and skills refers to what an individual can do. The 68 competencies are organized into four categories. In the PDA, each competency has four levels of accomplishment along a continuum of strengths. Program directors, health managers, and health staff can use the PDA themselves and with the staff they supervise to promote successful job performance and support career development.