Family Services Staff

All Head Start and Early Head Start staff have a role to play in family engagement and supporting progress for families and children. As family services staff and supervisors, your work contributes to family well-being and positive parent-child relationships, which are essential to school readiness.

Your partnerships with families support children’s school readiness and healthy development. For parents and families, school readiness means they are engaged in the long-term, lifelong success of their child. As families services staff, you have an opportunity to support families and children throughout the program year—from recruitment and enrollment to preparing for transitions to and from Head Start and Early Head Start.

Head Start recognizes that parents are their children's primary teachers and advocates. Programs are required to consult with parents in establishing school readiness goals (45 CFR 1307.3 (b) (1) (iii), as amended). Learn more about the Head Start Approach to School Readiness major Frameworks used promote school readiness for parents and families, infants and toddlers, and preschoolers.

Steps to School Readiness

  1. Establish Goals for Improving School Readiness Across Domains

    • Recruitment and Enrollment: Share excitement about partnering with families to support their child and family’s progress.
    • Program Year: Work with families, teachers, program staff and community partners to set goals for school readiness and family progress. Highlight the value of families’ support for their children’s learning and healthy development.
    • Supporting Transitions: Work with families, teachers, program staff and community partners to identify goals to ensure a successful transition for the child.
  2. Create and implement a plan of action for achieving the established school readiness goals

    • Recruitment and Enrollment: Meet with families to discuss dreams, hopes and goals for their children.
    • Program Year: Work with families, teachers, other program staff and community partners to develop a plan of action to achieve shared goals. Work with program staff to engage families in children’s learning and healthy development.
    • Family Engagement and School Readiness: Work with families, program staff and community partners to develop a plan of action to engage families in supporting a successful transition to kindergarten.
  3. Assess child progress on an ongoing basis and aggregate and analyze data at multiple times throughout the year

    • Recruitment and Enrollment: Learn about the child, as well as the child’s language and culture, from the family’s perspective as you work to develop a relationship with the family.
    • Program Year: Work with families, teachers and other program staff to use the child assessment data [PDF 2.2MB] to improve program services and enhance family engagement in children’s learning.
    • Family Engagement and School Readiness: Support the family, program staff and school system staff to develop and implement a transition plan to ensure a successful transition to kindergarten.
  4. Examine data for patterns of progress for groups of children in order to revise, or develop and implement plans for program improvement

    • Recruitment and Enrollment: Speak with families about the importance of sharing information about their children, and how this information supports program improvement.
    • Program Year: Work with families, teachers and other program staff to use the child assessment data [PDF 2.2MB] to improve program services and enhance family engagement in children’s learning.
    • Family Engagement and School Readiness: Share aggregate data in confidentiality with designated school staff and community partners to ensure a successful transition to kindergarten and beyond.

Resources

Parent, Family, and Community Engagement and School Readiness

Relationship-Based Practice

Assessing Child, Family, and Program Progress

Related Resources

Stories from the Field

Last Reviewed: June 2014

Last Updated: February 17, 2015