Pregnancy

Find resources to help early childhood programs serve pregnant women and expectant families.

Exploring the Head Start Program Performance Standards

Head Start agencies that provide services to children and families must meet the Head Start Program Performance Standards and the requirements set forth in the Head Start Act of 2007. The Office of Head Start (OHS) also offers direction through Program Instructions (PIs) and Information Memorandums (IMs). More guidance is available to grantees through their federal program specialist.

Family Engagement

Family engagement is a collaborative and strengths-based process through which early childhood professionals, families, and children build positive and goal-oriented relationships.

Teaching Practices

Effective, nurturing, and responsive teaching practices and interactions are key for all learning in early childhood settings. They foster trust and emotional security; are communication and language rich; and promote critical thinking and problem-solving.

Safety Practices

Early childhood programs keep children safe when their facilities, materials, and equipment are hazard-free and all staff use safety practices such as active supervision. Find resources to help staff and families reduce the number and severity of childhood injuries everywhere that children learn and grow. Discover tips for use at home, in cars and buses, on the playground, and in all early childhood settings.

Children with Disabilities

Young children vary in their skills, knowledge, backgrounds, and abilities. Effective teaching requires individualized teaching and chances to learn for all children to access, participate, and thrive in early learning settings. Individualizing for children who need more support helps ensure effective teaching for children with disabilities and other special needs across all the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework domains.

Program Planning

Thoughtful planning is critical to programming. Explore these resources for guidance through the five-year grant. Learn how to establish continuous cycles of improvement that involve key stakeholders in data-based decision-making.

Curriculum

A high-quality, research-based curriculum promotes measurable progress toward children’s development. The content and learning outcomes of the curriculum align with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF) and state early care and education standards.

Mental Health

Head Start and Early Head Start programs support the mental health of children, families, and staff every day. Early childhood mental health is the same as social and emotional well-being. It is a child’s developing capacity to express and regulate emotions, form trusting relationships, explore, and learn—all in the cultural context of family and community. The mental health of children and the adults that care for them is essential for school readiness..

Family Support & Well-being

Family well-being occurs when all family members are safe, healthy, and have chances for educational advancement and economic mobility. Support services such as early care and education, housing and food assistance, and physical and mental health care positively contribute to the well-being of families and their children. When families face challenges that cause stress, including poverty and homelessness, their health and wellness can be negatively impacted.