Head Start Policy and Regulations

1302.35 Education in home-based programs.

(a) Purpose. A home-based program must provide home visits and group socialization activities that promote secure parent-child relationships and help parents provide high-quality early learning experiences in language, literacy, mathematics, social and emotional functioning, approaches to learning, science, physical skills, and creative arts. A program must implement a research-based curriculum that delivers developmentally, linguistically, and culturally appropriate home visits and group socialization activities that support children’s cognitive, social, and emotional growth for later success in school.

(b) Home-based program design. A home-based program must ensure all home visits are:

(1) Planned jointly by the home visitor and parents, and reflect the critical role of parents in the early learning and development of their children, including that the home visitor is able to effectively communicate with the parent, directly or through an interpreter;

(2) Planned using information from ongoing assessments that individualize learning experiences;

(3) Scheduled with sufficient time to serve all enrolled children in the home and conducted with parents and are not conducted when only babysitters or other temporary caregivers are present;

(4) Scheduled with sufficient time and appropriate staff to ensure effective delivery of services described in subparts D, E, F, and G of this part through home visiting, to the extent possible.

(c) Home visit experiences. A program that operates the home-based option must ensure all home visits focus on promoting high-quality early learning experiences in the home and growth towards the goals described in the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five and must use such goals and the curriculum to plan home visit activities that implement:

(1) Age and developmentally appropriate, structured child-focused learning experiences;

(2) Strategies and activities that promote parents’ ability to support the child’s cognitive, social, emotional, language, literacy, and physical development;

(3) Strategies and activities that promote the home as a learning environment that is safe, nurturing, responsive, and language- and communication- rich;

(4) Research-based strategies and activities for children who are dual language learners that recognize bilingualism and biliteracy as strengths, and:

(i) For infants and toddlers, focus on the development of the home language, while providing experiences that expose both parents and children to English; and,

(ii) For preschoolers, focus on both English language acquisition and the continued development of the home language; and,

(5) Follow-up with the families to discuss learning experiences provided in the home between each visit, address concerns, and inform strategies to promote progress toward school readiness goals.

(d) Home-based curriculum. A program that operates the home-based option must:

(1) Ensure home-visiting and group socializations implement a developmentally appropriate research-based early childhood home-based curriculum that:

(i) Promotes the parent’s role as the child’s teacher through experiences focused on the parent-child relationship and, as appropriate, the family’s traditions, culture, values, and beliefs;

(ii) Aligns with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five and, as appropriate, state early learning standards, and, is sufficiently content-rich within the Framework to promote measurable progress toward goals outlined in the Framework; and,

(iii) Has an organized developmental scope and sequence that includes plans and materials for learning experiences based on developmental progressions and how children learn.

(2) Support staff in the effective implementation of the curriculum and at a minimum monitor curriculum implementation and fidelity, and provide support, feedback, and supervision for continuous improvement of its implementation through the system of training and professional development.

(3) If a program chooses to make significant adaptations to a curriculum or curriculum enhancement to better meet the needs of one or more specific populations, a program must:

(i) Partner with early childhood education curriculum or content experts; and,

(ii) Assess whether the adaptation adequately facilitates progress toward meeting school readiness goals consistent with the process described in §1302.102(b) and (c).

(4) Provide parents with an opportunity to review selected curricula and instructional materials used in the program.

(e) Group socialization. (1) A program that operates the home-based option must ensure group socializations are planned jointly with families, conducted with both child and parent participation, occur in a classroom, community facility, home or field trip setting, as appropriate.

(2) Group socializations must be structured to:

(i) Provide age appropriate activities for participating children that are intentionally aligned to school readiness goals, the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five and the home-based curriculum; and,

(ii) Encourage parents to share experiences related to their children’s development with other parents in order to strengthen parent-child relationships and to help promote parents understanding of child development;

(3) For parents with preschoolers, group socializations also must provide opportunities for parents to participate in activities that support parenting skill development or family partnership goals identified in §1302.52(c), as appropriate and must emphasize peer group interactions designed to promote children’s social, emotional and language development, and progress towards school readiness goals, while encouraging parents to observe and actively participate in activities, as appropriate.

(f) Screening and assessments. A program that operates the home-based option must implement provisions in §1302.33 and inform parents about the purposes of and the results from screenings and assessments and discuss their child's progress.