Office of Head Start Blog

David A. Jones

Reflections of Fathers

By David A. Jones

06/17/2016

If you sit quietly and observe an engaged father interacting with his child, it can be awe inspiring. If they have cultivated their dance based upon a secure sense of trust and reciprocity, any observer might gasp. The only way practitioners can experience this... Continue Reading »

David A. Jones

A Renewed Focus on Fathers

By David A. Jones

06/15/2016

Fathers can play a pivotal role in the care, education, guidance, love, and economic stability of their children and families. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is dedicated to finding ways to communicate, engage, and provide essential support... Continue Reading »

Dr. Blanca Enriquez

Head Start: Beyond 50 Years

By Dr. Blanca Enriquez

05/18/2016

I love celebrating birthdays! Birthdays provide a chance to reflect on past accomplishments and to focus on new opportunities and growth. May 18 is often thought of as Head Start's birthday since it was on this day in 1965 that President Lyndon B. Johnson... Continue Reading »

Sharon Yandian

New Ways to Approach School Readiness in Home Visiting

By Patty Marickovich and Amanda Bryans

05/16/2016

Today is one of those dreary days when the weather is challenging even for the heartiest among us. As we watch the steady, heavy downpour of cold springtime rain, our discussion drifts to how the home visitors are doing... Continue Reading »

Sharon Yandian

Comprehensive Services and T/TA in Head Start

By Sharon Yandian

05/12/2016

Comprehensive services have been the hallmark of Head Start from its very beginning in the summer of 1965. Educational services, dental and health screening, and healthy meals are provided for all children, including those with disabilities... Continue Reading »

Sarah Merrill

Head Start's Comprehensive Approach to Child Development

By Sarah Merrill

05/09/2016

Did you know there was a panel of experts who developed recommendations for the first Head Start program? Recommendations for a Head Start Program by a Panel of Experts, also known as the Cooke Report, included key beliefs that are still with Head Start today... Continue Reading »

Dr. Blanca Enriquez

New Funding to Increase the Duration of Head Start Programs

By Dr. Blanca Enriquez

04/25/2016

Today, I am pleased to announce new funding that will allow all Head Start communities to have access to full school year and full school day programming, and all Early Head Start families to receive continuous services. Congress has appropriated... Continue Reading »

girl drinking a glass of water

Impact of Lead Exposure in Very Young Children

By Marco Beltran, Katherine Beckmann, and Alana Buroff

03/28/2016

We can agree the health and well-being of our children is of vital importance. As adults, the responsibility falls on us to protect our little ones from... Continue Reading »

Heidi Holmstrom

Nutrition for Body and Mind: "Jenny is a Good Thing" and the Head Start Program

By Heidi Holmstrom

03/03/2016

This is a guest blog from the National Archives' Motion Picture Preservation Lab, who recently completed and made available a HD scan of the video... Continue Reading »

Dr. Blanca Enriquez

Investing in Flint's Children

By Dr. Blanca Enriquez

03/02/2016

Today, we are pleased to announce that the Administration for Children and Families is acting quickly to respond positively to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. We know that the comprehensive services provided by Head Start can... Continue Reading »

Adriann

Our Oral Health Campaign

By Dr. Marco Beltran and Adriann Hawkins

02/25/2016

Children's Dental Health Month is a time to refocus attention on the number one chronic condition among young children—tooth decay. For the Office of Head Start (OHS), preventing early childhood caries among enrolled Head Start children... Continue Reading »

Anne Schuchat

Zika 101

By Dr. Anne Schuchat

01/28/2016

The Zika virus is spread to people through the bite of infected mosquitos. About one in five people who get infected with Zika virus will show symptoms. In the past several weeks... Continue Reading »

Dr. Blanca Enriquez

Remembering Vanessa Ann Rich

By Dr. Blanca Enriquez and the OHS Senior Staff

01/13/2016

Over the holiday season, Head Start lost one of its brightest lights. Vanessa Ann Rich, City of Chicago deputy commissioner for the Department of Family and Support Services, died on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015... Continue Reading »

Sarah Merrill

Responding to the Culture of Children, Families, and Communities

By Sarah Merrill

12/11/2015

Head Start is a national program with federal standards; so, how do local programs support the children and families from different regions and cultures in... Continue Reading »

Sharon Yandian

Beyond Breaking Bread: What Head Start Programs Do to Celebrate and Serve Our Nation's Children, Families, and Communities

By Sharon Yandian

12/11/2015

Chapatti, fry bread, pita, lavash, baguette sliced wheat, challah, simit, or soda bread. Bread brings people together, and is important as a connector and conveyer of culture. Continue Reading »

newborn infant

Collaborating Across Federal Programs to Address Maternal Depression

By Patty Marickovich and Amanda Bryans

11/13/2015

Kelly was in my office and unsure of what to do. While I, as usual, was in awe of her work as a home visitor, she was stumped. A mom in our Head Start program had a newborn. This should be a joyful time, right? Continue Reading »

Marco Beltran

Promoting Health Literacy for Families

By Marco Beltran

10/30/2015

The term "health literacy" is often used in connection with improving individual or family health outcomes. Health Literacy is defined as the degree to which a person has the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions... Continue Reading »

Mark Greenberg

Launching a Federal Training and Technical Assistance System

By Mark Greenberg

10/05/2015

At ACF, we work to ensure that all children—especially children who experience poverty and other challenging circumstances—have early childhood experiences that build the foundation for their success in school and in life. We administer Head Start, child care, home visiting, and other programs designed to help children reach their full potential... Continue Reading »

Marco Beltran

Take Time to Prepare During National Preparedness Month

By Marco Beltran

09/24/2015

Emergency situations arise suddenly. When they occur, crises and disasters can be devastating to our programs and communities. Head Start and Early Head Start programs take time to prepare in advance so the negative effects of an emergency can be reduced. Although programs cannot anticipate everything that might happen, comprehensive... Continue Reading »

Angie Godfrey

Head Start Staff Serve as a Lifeline for Families and Communities

By Angie Godfrey

09/01/2015

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Head Start, many people have shared their memories and stories on how the program has influenced their lives. Former Head Start children tell such sweet memories of their first experience meeting a teacher or a home visitor, and how they were welcomed into a world of books and painting and... Continue Reading »

Sarah Merrill

Head Start Professionalized the Early Childhood Education Workforce

By Sarah Merrill

09/01/2015

Did you ever wonder why you need specific professional qualifications to work with young children? Head Start has always known the importance of having qualified, well-trained staff in working with young children.... Continue Reading »

Sangeeta Parikshak

Supporting Head Start Teachers through Professional Development

By Jamie Sheehan

09/01/2015

Over the years, Head Start teachers have been the cornerstone of their programs. Head Start teachers have been, and still are, responsible for guiding children’s learning experiences in the classroom. How we support our teaching staff is essential to children's learning.... Continue Reading »

a caregiver helps a toddler stand

One Year in the Life of the Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships Program

By Linda K. Smith

08/21/2015

For most parents, celebrating the first birthday of your child is a big milestone. The first year is typically a blur of sleepless nights, lots of anxiety and worry about whether you are doing the right thing. It’s a period of rapid growth... Continue Reading »

Sangeeta Parikshak

Introducing a New Framework: Early Learning Across Settings from Birth to 5

By Amanda Bryans and Sangeeta Parikshak

07/06/2015

I don't know how or why my mother signed us up for Head Start, but I think it was one of the best decisions she ever made for us. My father dropped out of school in the 9th grade to support his younger siblings. He is a Korean War veteran, and I believe he realized education was the way for us to avoid the back-breaking labor that he... Continue Reading »

Fatherhood Specialist for the Office of Head Start David Jones

50 Years of Service to Children, Families, and Fathers

By David Jones

06/22/2015

Father engagement has changed a lot over the years. As we celebrate Head Start's 50th anniversary, it's a time for us to reflect and celebrate our accomplishments. We have come a long way, and yet, there is still... Continue Reading »

Blanca Enriquez

Office of Head Start Proposes Revised Program Performance Standards: Helping Grantees Focus on What's Important

By Dr. Blanca Enriquez

06/16/2015

When I was Executive Director of a large Head Start program, not so long ago, I worked around the clock to ensure it was the strongest it could be, and I know that Head Start programs across the country do the same. I am bringing that passionate commitment to my new role as the head of the Office of Head Start... Continue Reading »

Blanca Enriquez

Celebrating the Launch of Head Start: May 18, 1965

By Dr. Blanca Enriquez

05/18/2015

Built by visionaries who sought to open avenues of opportunity for families most in need, Head Start continues to be at the forefront of transformation and innovation. As Head Start celebrates the historic 50 year milestone, it is my great pleasure to serve as the director of the Office of Head Start, to help create the vision, and lead the visionaries... Continue Reading »

Marco Beltran

Healthy and Ready to Learn: The Importance of Health Services in Head Start

By Marco Beltran

04/23/2015

When you think about a high-quality early childhood program, what does it look like? Does it look different for children from low-income families? Very few early childhood programs are designed to address the complex needs of their communities. Yet, Head Start, which serves pregnant women and children ages birth to 5 from low-income families... Continue Reading »

Kiersten Beigel

50 Years of Prioritizing Families in Head Start

By Kiersten Beigel

04/13/2015

"Get involved. Know what your child is being taught. Be a part of your child's teaching."
— Head Start Parent

Family engagement has always been a cornerstone and a great source of pride for Head Start. Looking back, both consistent commitment and important policy efforts have kept family engagement in the forefront of the program. The love and hope that parents have for their young children has been a constant. Families have placed trust in staff, both for their children and themselves... Continue Reading »

Blanca Enriquez

Honor Our History, Carry on the Legacy

By Dr. Blanca Enriquez

04/03/2015

As Head Start celebrates a historic 50 year milestone, it's the perfect time to reflect on how our program has grown and evolved to become a model for early childhood education. Head Start not only gives our most vulnerable young children the tools for success in school, it provides their families hope for their future and leaves a lasting... Continue Reading »

Sarah Merrill

Head Start and the Evolving Concept of Family Involvement

By Sarah Merrill

03/19/2015

Did you know that Head Start was the first child development program to include intentional involvement of parents and family engagement in all aspects of services? The program was designed to promote the growth and development of parents and their children. The Planning Committee for Head Start felt that children would benefit... Continue Reading »

Colleen Rathgeb

The President's FY 2016 Budget for Head Start

By Colleen Rathgeb

02/10/2015

President Obama's fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget is great news for Head Start and Early Head Start programs across the country. The budget requests $10.1 billion for Head Start, which is a $1.5 billion increase over the current year. The largest share of this $1.5 billion increase is a $1.1 billion investment to ensure that every Head Start program... Continue Reading »

Amanda Bryans

Head Start Volunteers Make a Difference

By Amanda Bryans

02/10/2015

I worked in a Head Start program from 1989-1999. I think it was the best and hardest work I ever did. Hard work can bond a team of teachers and volunteers in a way that is almost like family. In 1994, a Head Start teacher assistant, Ms. Lewis, died. When the news of her death reached our community, we were stunned with grief... Continue Reading »

Amanda Bryans

Leading the Way in Community Partnerships

By Amanda Bryans

01/20/2015

From the very first, Head Start was envisioned as a community effort. We always knew its success rested in both the leadership of parents and support from local businesses, municipalities, community members, and neighbors. We could never do all that was needed alone. Head Start agencies assessed what was available at the... Continue Reading »

Ann Linehan

Leading the Way for 50 Years

By Ann Linehan

01/12/2015

As we enter 2015, we are fortunate to reflect on the 50th year of Head Start services. In May of 1965, the first Head Start summer programs began. These programs provided the most vulnerable preschool children and their families with comprehensive services to meet their emotional, social, health, nutritional, and... Continue Reading »

Kiersten Beigel

In Brief: 50 Years of Family Engagement in Head Start

By Kiersten Beigel

12/11/2014

Head Start and Early Head Start have an amazing legacy of family engagement. As we celebrate Head Start's 50th anniversary in 2015, Kiersten Beigel, Program Specialist for the Office of Head Start, shared her thoughts with Harvard Family Research Project's Family Involvement Network of Educators (FINE) Newsletter... Continue Reading »

Alana Buroff

OHS Anytime, Anywhere, Anyhow: User Experience Drives Improvements to Head Start Communications

By Alana Buroff

11/13/2014

The Office of Head Start (OHS) is making big strides towards making our information available to anyone, in the locations they need it, and on the device they happen to be using. Based on information from you, our users, and trends in mobile usage, we have made big changes to the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) and our... Continue Reading »

Woman with baby

New Infant-Toddler Training and Technical Assistance Projects

By Linda Smith, Ann Linehan, and Shannon Rudisill

10/24/2014

It seems we learn more and more every day about all that our youngest children can learn. Research shows [PDF, 93KB] that a tremendous amount of brain development happens in the very first months of life. By the time children are 3 years old, the structures of their brains that influence later learning are... Continue Reading »

Marco Beltran

Practicing Your Preparedness Plan

By Marco Beltran

10/15/2014

An effective emergency preparedness plan helps your program to respond appropriately and quickly to circumstances that occur. It helps to reduce risks to everyone in the Head Start community. But, the only way that can happen is if staff, children, families, and community partners know the plan and their responsibility... Continue Reading »

Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Applications Under Review

Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Applications Under Review

By Linda Smith, Ann Linehan, and Shannon Rudisill

10/09/2014

Response to the Early Head Start expansion and Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships funding opportunity has been tremendous. Including the last funding opportunity announcements which closed on Oct. 6, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) received more than 600 grant applications. These came from communities in... Continue Reading »

Marco Beltran

September Is National Preparedness Month

By Marco Beltran

9/26/2014

Many programs are still in the first month of classes. Staff members are reuniting with returning families and meeting those new to Head Start or Early Head Start. Infants and toddlers are getting used to the sights and sounds of their new environment. And, 3- to 5-year-olds are exploring learning stations situated in... Continue Reading »

Angie Godfrey

Happy 20th Anniversary, Early Head Start!

By Angie Godfrey

7/30/2013

The 20th Anniversary of Early Head Start (EHS) is being celebrated this year. There is a lot to celebrate! Congress extended Head Start services to expectant families and children from birth to 3 years of age and their families when they reauthorized the Head Start Act of 1994. This momentous decision acknowledged how important the... Continue Reading »

Amanda Bryans

To Teachers, with Gratitude: Teacher Appreciation Week 2014

By Amanda Bryans

5/6/2014

At the end of a speech several years ago, a woman raised her hand. When I acknowledged her, she stood and asked, "Do you know what Head Start did for my child?" "I don't know," I said. "Tell me." "They loved her!" she answered enthusiastically. "She knew she was special; and every day when she went to that school, she knew..." Continue Reading »

Amanda Bryans

Early Head Start – Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships: Why Do We Need Them?

By Amanda Bryans

4/11/2014

The youngest children in America are also the poorest. Twenty-five percent of infants and toddlers nationwide live in families below the official poverty line.  One in eight babies live with families in deep poverty, with household incomes at half or less of the poverty line. As many as one in four children are at risk for a social delay or developmental disability, but only... Continue Reading »

Yvette Sanchez Fuentes

Farewell

By Yvette Sanchez Fuentes

11/22/2013

Today is my last day serving as Director of the Office of Head Start. I know that the work of Head Start staff is not always easy, but I would remind you that the work you do every day changes the life of a child and their family. Together, over the last four years, we have enhanced the quality of Head Start to ensure that every child that walks through the door gets... Continue Reading »

Yvette Sanchez Fuentes

Family Engagement and Hispanic Heritage Month

By Yvette Sanchez Fuentes

9/24/2013

Hispanics are the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the United States. We see this in our Head Start programs across the country where the number of Hispanic families with enrolled children has nearly doubled over the last three decades. As a nation, one of the most important things we can do is... Continue Reading »

Amanda Bryans

Keeping Kids Safe

By Amanda Bryans

8/22/2013

Transportation is one of the most vital services Head Start and Early Head Start programs provide. The highest need families are typically the least likely to have access to transportation. They rarely own a vehicle and may have no access to public transportation, either because of location or lack of fare. Sometimes, even when public transportation... Continue Reading »

Yvette Sanchez Fuentes

Look Before You Lock

By Yvette Sanchez Fuentes

8/7/2013

During last year's Look Before You Lock campaign, we heard the heart-wrenching story of Reginald McKinnon, a father who took his then 18-month-old daughter to a doctor's visit and then returned to complete his work day, leaving his child in the car. I still remember his devastating comment: "How could you forget your own child? It's a question I..." Continue Reading »

Yvette Sanchez Fuentes

Partnering with LGBT Families in Early Head Start and Head Start

By Angie Godfrey

6/18/2013

Last month, the Early Head Start National Resource Center hosted a conversation with key stakeholders to explore how lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) families are being served by Early Head Start programs... Continue Reading »

Fatherhood Specialist for the Office of Head Start David Jones

Father Figures Making a Difference

By David Jones

6/3/2013

Gone are the days when fathers were stuck in prescribed gender roles and only interacted with their children for disciplinary or financial matters. Today, fathers contribute to their children's overall development and well-being in many ways. They shop and play with children. They shuffle children to sports practices and doctor's appointments. They prepare... Continue Reading »

Yvette Sanchez Fuentes

Honoring Our Leaders

By Yvette Sanchez Fuentes

2/14/2013

The Office of Head Start (OHS) is proud of its history as a national leader in providing comprehensive services for low-income children and families. During the OHS 1st National Birth to Five Leadership Institute, we honored this history by recognizing our founders: Sargent Shriver, Edward Zigler, and T. Berry Brazelton. We are carrying on this tradition with... Continue Reading »

Yvette Sanchez Fuentes

Using CLASS® to Improve Head Start Quality

By Yvette Sanchez Fuentes

1/18/2013

The Office of Head Start (OHS) is committed to ensuring program excellence for the families and children we serve. This week we informed 122 agencies providing Head Start services that they would need to compete with other programs in their community for continued funding from the Office of Head Start. These programs met one or more of the... Continue Reading »

Amanda Bryans

Talking about School Readiness

By Amanda Bryans

1/9/2013

School readiness is a key part of Head Start, and has been since its beginning in 1965. We talk about school readiness as it relates to getting children ready for school, parents ready to support children in school, and schools ready for the children they receive. In Head Start, school readiness goals include the key areas of children's health and... Continue Reading »

Amanda Bryans

Building Strong Relationships with Positive Observations

By Amanda Bryans

12/20/2012

One of the most important things we can do to engage parents in Head Start is observe and report to them positive things about their children. Parenting young children is very hard work even in the best circumstances. When there are inadequate resources, the work is even harder. Getting food on the table, arranging transportation to and from work, and... Continue Reading »

Yvette Sanchez Fuentes

Reform Continues: Head Start Grant Applicants Under Review

By Yvette Sanchez Fuentes

12/7/12

The children who attend Head Start deserve the best we can give them. A high-quality early education can be what provides a child from a low-income family a genuinely equal opportunity to succeed. That idea has guided Head Start since it began in 1965, and it laid the groundwork for the historic reforms currently... Continue Reading »

Last Reviewed: June 2016

Last Updated: June 15, 2016