Multicultural Principles for Head Start Programs Serving Children Ages Birth to Five

Head Start programs are effective when their systems and services support the cultural diversity of enrolled families. Furthermore, individual staff members must be able to demonstrate their respect for and respond to the different cultures in their community and among their co-workers. The following resource provides recent research and perspectives on key multicultural principles and offers guidance to staff on how to implement these principles in their programs.

Culture is a fundamental feature of Head Start program systems and services. Revisitingand Updating the Multicultural Principles for Head Start Programs Serving Children Ages Birth to Five updates the information and research presented in Head Start's original Multicultural Principles handbook published in 1991. This resource is divided into 10 chapters and each chapter presents one multicultural principle, the research and guidance to support that principle, and questions and or discussion activities. Head Start programs may download the individual chapters or the entire resource in English or Spanish to use for their professional learning activities or for personal professional development.

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Principle 1: Every individual is rooted in culture.

Available in English [PDF, 146KB] and Spanish (español) [PDF, 171KB]

Related Materials: Multicultural Principles Learning Extension 1

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Principle 2: The cultural groups represented in the communities and families of each Head Start program are the primary sources for culturally relevant programming.

Available in English [PDF, 92KB] and Spanish (español)[PDF, 100KB]

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Principle 3: Culturally relevant and diverse programming requires learning accurate information about the cultures of different groups and discarding stereotypes.

Available in English [PDF, 198KB] and Spanish (español)[PDF, 205KB]

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Principle 4: Addressing cultural relevance in making curriculum choices and adaptations is a necessary, developmentally appropriate practice.

Available in English and Spanish (español)[PDF, 169KB]

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Principle 5: Every individual has the right to maintain his or her own identity while acquiring the skills required to function in our diverse society.

Available in English [PDF, 145KB] and Spanish (español) [PDF, 163KB]

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Principle 6: Effective programs for children who speak languages other than English require continued development of the first language while the acquisition of English is facilitated.

Available in English [PDF, 174KB] and Spanish (español) [PDF, 157KB]

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Principle 7: Culturally relevant programming requires staff who both reflect and are responsive to the community and families served.

Available in English [PDF, 119KB] and Spanish (español) [PDF, 132KB]

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Principle 8: Multicultural programming for children enables children to develop an awareness of, respect for, and appreciation of individual and cultural differences.

Available in English [PDF, 145KB] and Spanish (español) [PDF, 151KB]

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Principle 9: Culturally relevant and diverse programming examines and challenges institutional and personal biases.

Available in English [PDF, 120KB] and Spanish (español) [PDF, 129KB]

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Principle 10: Culturally relevant and diverse programming and practices are incorporated in all systems and services and are beneficial to all adults and children.

Available in English [PDF, 178KB] and Spanish (español) [PDF, 197KB]

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Supporting the School Readiness and Success of Young African American Boys Project: Reflections on a Culturally Responsive Strength-Based Approach

Available in English [PDF, 1.2MB]

Full text versions:

Revisiting and Updating the Multicultural Principles for Head Start Programs Serving Children Ages Birth to Five
Available in English [PDF, 1.5MB] and Spanish (español) [PDF, 1.5MB]

Revisiting and Updating the Multicultural Principles for Head Start Programs Serving Children Ages Birth to Five. HHS/ACF/OHS. 2008. English.

Last Reviewed: November 2015

Last Updated: November 24, 2015