Head Start and Early Head Start Home-Based Curriculum Selection Checklist

Use this checklist to guide the decision-making process when selecting a Head Start or Early Head Start home-based curriculum. Education staff can use this checklist to help select a home-based curriculum that meets the Head Start Program Performance Standards.

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A home visitor holds hands with toddler in a woman's arms45 CFR §1302.35 Education in home-based programs. (d) Home-based curriculum. A program that operates the home-based option must:

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

When your program is selecting a home-based curriculum, use this checklist to guide the decision-making process.

Before You Begin

  • Have you reviewed the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning (NCECDTL) resource Head Start and Early Head Start Home-Based Curriculum Selection Checklist: What Is Research-Based?
  • Have you determined who needs to be involved in the curriculum selection process and serve on a curriculum selection team (e.g., home-based supervisors, home visitors, professional development staff, parents, policy council members, community representatives)?
  • Have you developed a plan which includes the process and timeline the curriculum selection team will use?

Meeting Head Start Program Performance Standards

  • Does the curriculum meet the requirements for education in home-based programs under Head Start Program Performance Standard (HSPPS) 1302.35?
  • Does it have an organized developmental scope and sequence that includes plans and materials for learning experiences based on how children learn and the way they develop?
  • Does the curriculum provide content to support parents as they provide learning experiences that promote measurable progress towards the goals outlined in the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework?
  • Does your program have the capacity to support staff in implementing the curriculum effectively and with fidelity including training, ongoing professional development and supervision?
  • Does the curriculum provide sufficient content and materials for weekly 90-minute visits for a minimum of 46 weeks a year for Early Head Start and 32 weeks a year for Head Start (HSPPS 45 CFR §1302.22(c)(1) and (2))?

Focus on Supporting Parents' Capacity to Promote Healthy Child Development and School Readiness Goals

  • Does it promote parents' roles as the child's teacher through experiences focused on the parent-child relationship?
  • Does the curriculum focus on the home as a learning environment and on using materials found in the home for learning activities?
  • Do curriculum-intended outcomes match your program's school readiness goals?
  • Does the curriculum provide strategies to promote language-rich communication (in the family's home language) between parents and children that supports and extends children's learning?

Individualization and Responsiveness

  • Does the curriculum provide the best fit for the needs of your population?
  • Is the curriculum culturally and linguistically responsive?
  • Does the curriculum address dual or tribal language learners?
  • Does the curriculum provide guidance for supporting parents who have children with disabilities or suspected delays or other special needs?
  • Does the curriculum address the role of ongoing assessment to support planning and individualizing based on assessment information?
  • Does the curriculum address parent involvement and engagement in the ongoing assessment process?

Costs and Resources

  • Have the costs of curriculum manuals, training costs—face-to-face, virtual, and consumables (e.g., home visit forms and parent handouts/booklets)—been taken into consideration?
  • Are the costs of implementing the curriculum in line with your budget?

Training and Ongoing Professional Development

  • Do the current staff have the capacity and/or the qualifications to implement the curriculum effectively and with fidelity?
  • What training do the curriculum developers offer (e.g., onsite/face to face, webinars, and online self-paced training modules)?
  • What materials are available from the curriculum developer to support implementation of the curriculum with fidelity?
  • What materials are available for program staff to use to provide ongoing training or technical assistance on implementing the curriculum beyond what the publisher provides?
  • Is supervision available to fully support staff in the implementation of this curriculum?
  • Have you joined the MyPeers Home Visiting Community to connect with peers and learn what they have to say about the curriculum they are using? You can join the MyPeers Home Visiting Community by going to http://www.123contactform.com/form-2230355/My-Peers.

Systems Change

  • How will implementation of the curriculum impact data collection, analyzing data, and tracking trends over time (or over the five-year grant cycle)?
  • If you have both Early Head Start and Head Start home-based programs, does the curriculum cover the birth to five continuum or will you need to have two separate curricula?
  • Is your program able to plan a sufficient time frame to match the time needed to implement the curriculum effectively and with fidelity?

Making a Selection Decision

  • Do you have plans for the selection team to meet to review all the information from the checklist and determine which curriculum best meets the needs of your parents, program, staff, and community?
  • After selection, will you develop an implementation plan and timeline to phase in the new curriculum over a reasonable and sufficient time frame?
  • Will your implementation plan outline the initial installation of the curriculum as well as the steps leading to full implementation?


Keywords:Home-based curriculum

Resource Type: Publication

National Centers: Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning

Program Option: Home-Based

Last Updated: March 28, 2019