Consistent attendance is essential for children to benefit from their Head Start experience and for future school success. By using a lens of equity in their approach to attendance, program staff strengthen their family engagement practices.

Questions for Consideration

  • How do you partner with families to support regular attendance for children?
  • How does your program create the time and opportunity for families to share what they think is important about attendance? How can your program strengthen its approaches to these conversations?
  • How does your program engage families in their understanding of how children learn, why play is important, and how attendance and participation directly impact their success in later school years?
  • How are you supporting all staff to understand the importance of attendance? How are you helping staff share that information with families?
  • How do staff practice nonjudgmental, strengths-based, and trauma-informed approaches in conversations with families about their child’s attendance?
  • Does your professional development and training for staff include information about unconscious bias and suspension and expulsion, particularly for Black children? Is this professional development a priority for your teachers?
  • How are staff supported to become aware of their own biases or assumptions about children’s attendance patterns?
  • How does your program address attendance concerns while continuing to support families who may be facing complex challenges?
  • How do staff support families whose current life experiences may impact attendance in the program, such as homelessness, health conditions, unstable transportation, and other challenging circumstances?
  • How are staff mindful and respectful of activities (e.g., ceremonial, religious) that impact or reduce families’ attendance in the program?
  • How can MSHS programs design practices and provide flexibility for the attendance of migrant families?
  • How does your transportation system ensure that eligible children and families have access to your program, if applicable?