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.

Community Engagement

The collaboration between early childhood staff, families, and community agencies builds positive relationships. These relationships support parents’ progress toward their goals for themselves and their children.

Transportation

Head Start programs are not required to provide transportation services. However, when they do provide those services, they must comply with key regulations. Explore these resources to support programs in the safe and efficient movement of children from one point to another.

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.

State Systems

State systems for early childhood education (ECE) programs coordinate and regulate the various services for children from infancy to age 5 and their families. These often include state data systems, assessment of program quality such as Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), and professional development systems for early educators.

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.

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.

Culture & Language

Across early childhood systems and programs, managers and staff must be prepared to enhance experiences for the growing number of young children who are learning their home languages and English.

Health Services Management

New and experienced staff will find professional development tools to help keep children safe, healthy, and ready to learn.