Family Services Managers’ Seasonal Program Planning Tool

Circle with a depiction of all seasons on the inside.This tool is designed to help family services managers like you plan your tasks and activities over a program year. As an organizing principle, the tool uses the different seasons that are common among programs as they work through their program year.

As you use the Family Services Managers' Seasonal Program Planning Tool, you'll want to consider your program's unique strengths and needs. Remember that some suggested activities might not occur in the same order in any given season. You'll want to plan for what is best for your program, staff, families, and communities.

How the Tool Is Organized

This tool is organized into five sections:

  • Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Fundamentals
  • The Family Services Manager's Role in Program Systems
  • The Family Services Manager's Role in Supporting Staff Working with Families
  • Planning and Managing Family Services Throughout the Year
  • Planting the Seeds for Professional Success

Sections 1 and 2 review the key systems that provide the foundation for family and community engagement and support well-organized systems within programs. Attention to these systems allows programs to create and offer predictable, reliable, consistent services and support for children and families. Within this context, staff build trusting relationships with families.

Section 3 explores your role as a family services manager in helping your program provide the comprehensive services that most affect outcomes for the children and families in your program.

Section 4 provides seasonal planning worksheets you can tailor to your program and staff. The fillable worksheets allow you and your staff to plan and track your work efficiently.

Finally, Section 5 offers supplemental material that may be helpful as you grow in your role as family services manager and build your team's professional development.

Putting It into Practice Activity

Sections 1–4 include fictional scenarios featuring Gloria, a recently hired family services manager at the Family Dreams Head Start Program. In each scenario, Gloria will share practical examples of how she navigates her new role with the help of the Family Services Managers' Seasonal Program Planning Tool. One or more activities follow each scenario for you to complete to support your learning. Let's meet Gloria.

Meet Gloria

Gloria recently accepted a position as a family services manager at the Family Dreams Head Start Program. Gloria is excited to learn more about her new role and can't wait to build relationships with her staff.

On her first day at Family Dreams, Gloria introduces herself to her family services staff, fellow managers, and families on their way to their classrooms. She then meets with Molly, her program director.

First, Molly gives Gloria a brief orientation to the program's mission and core values and introduces her to the Office of Head Start's Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) website, emphasizing the Family Engagement topic page. Next, they spend some time exploring and discussing the Head Start History Timeline and the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) for family engagement (45 CFR §1302.50(b)(1–3)).

Then, Molly gives Gloria a history of the Family Dreams Head Start program and an overview of the service area and the communities that Family Dreams serves, including the demographics, cultures, and languages of the families in the community. Finally, Molly provides Gloria with the Family Services Managers' Seasonal Program Planning Tool to help orient her to her important new role. Molly suggests that Gloria begin with Sections 1 and 2.

Getting Started

You Got This!
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
-Maya Angelou

This tool includes many ideas. We recommend you start small and set reasonable timelines for implementing your systems. In addition, collaborate with your fellow program managers, staff, community members, and families. And, of course, communicate about your plans and activities with them and ask for their support whenever appropriate.

As you explore this resource and plan your work, you'll want to customize your efforts to support your program options. In addition, you will want to accommodate the community considerations that are unique to your setting, in terms of program types and local education agencies.

We wish you many fruitful seasons ahead — and happy planning!