"Parent" and "Family"
In this resource, "parent" and "family" refer to all adult caregivers who interact with early childhood systems in support of their child. These caregivers include biological, adoptive, and foster parents; pregnant people and expectant families; out-of-household parents; grandparents; legal and informal guardians; adult siblings; and other family members.
When they enroll their children in a Head Start program, parents may not realize they are enrolling themselves as well. From the beginning, these programs were designed for both parents and children.
The Head Start program was created in the 1960s as part of the country's War on Poverty. Since then, programs have sustained their original design as a two-generational program. That design focuses on promoting early development and learning alongside parent, family, and community engagement and development (Parent and family engagement in education and child development services, 45 CFR §1302.34).
Children are at the heart of meaningful family engagement. They are the inspiration for positive, goal-oriented staff-parent relationships. In all roles, staff have informal and formal opportunities to learn from parents and meaningfully collaborate in support of children and parents. By helping parents feel more confident and secure, staff can contribute to stronger family and child outcomes.
Explore this resource for ways to enhance the approaches and strategies for fostering positive parent-child relationships. Review the three steps to strengthen staff-parent relationships. Find prompts and questions to begin conversations with parents.
This resource supports staff in building knowledge, skills, and practices in the following Relationship-Based Competencies (RBCs) to Support Family Engagement:
- Competency 1: Positive, Goal-Oriented Relationships
- Competency 4: Parent-Child Relationships and Families as Lifelong Educators
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Parent, Family and Community Engagement
Last Updated: July 18, 2023