Learning Environments

Socializations and Field Trips in Head Start and Early Head Start Home-Based Programs

Tip Sheet LogoIntroduction

The home-based option delivers the full range of Head Start services through visits with the child's parents, primarily in the child's home, and through group socialization opportunities in a Head Start classroom, community facility, home, or on field trips. Socializations are an important part of delivering Head Start services in the home-based option. When deciding if field trips are appropriate for socializations, make sure to understand the intention behind group socializations in the home-based program option.

Group socializations should:

  • Provide age-appropriate activities for participating children that are aligned with school readiness goals, the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to 5 (ELOF), and the home-based curriculum
  • Include opportunities for parents to participate in activities that support their parenting skills development or family partnership goals
  • Offer peer group interactions for preschoolers to promote their development across domains and progress toward school readiness goals
  • Encourage parents to observe and actively participate in activities, as appropriate


In group settings, parents can get involved in planning the socializations, learn from each other, share their challenges and successes, and see how their children react to new people and experiences. Appropriate field trips can help strengthen these benefits.

Given the purpose of socializations, it may be appropriate to sometimes have them in different locations, or even to go on field trips that help meet a family's or program's goals. Having group socializations away from the regular socialization space can:

  • Help families meet their individual goals; families may share a similar goal and benefit from taking a field trip together
    • For example, if families want to spend more time outdoors, going to a park or community garden would help them meet that goal.
  • Meet program goals for socializations
    • For example, if a program wants to help each family get and use a library card to support child and family literacy, a group field trip to a local library would help with that goal.
  • Increase families' awareness of and access to community resources
    • For example, some programs may have agreements with local museums or other cultural venues that allow families free access.

When planning a field trip, consider how it:

  • Supports individual family goals as well as the program's goals for socializations
  • Aligns with the existing home-based curriculum, goals, and experiences
  • Increases families' awareness and access to community resources
  • Responds to the developmental stages of all the children in your program
  • Accommodates young children who may be active or noisy
  • Promotes culturally and linguistically appropriate activities and locations
  • Accommodates children with Individualized Family Service Plans or Individualized Education Programs and fits with their goals and needs
  • Allows for adaptations necessary for children suspected of or who have disabilities to fully participate in the field trip experience
  • Provides accessibility to any family members with special needs
  • Is child- and family-friendly and whether the location has enough room for families to bring equipment such as strollers, diaper bags, or other gear
  • Provides accommodations for feeding and diapering
  • Ensures families can get to the field trip site by including reasonable transportation options that conform to program policies and guidelines

Teachers sitting at a picnic table on a field tripHead Start Program Performance Standards

Fees, 45 CFR §1302.18

  • (a) Policy on fees

Home-based option, 45 CFR §1302.22

  • (a) Setting
  • (c) Service duration
    • (c)(1)(ii) Early Head Start
    • (c)(2)(ii) Head Start

Education in home-based programs, 45 CFR §1302.35

  • (e)(1)  Group socialization


Home Visitor's Handbook: Group Socializations

Socialization Environments in Head Start and Early Head Start Home-Based Programs