Teaching Practices

Supporting Children’s Growth and Development

Two women talking.Home visits are the heart of the home-based program option. They are the primary vehicle for delivering comprehensive Head Start services to young children and their families.

Home visitors create and maintain relationships with families. These relationships are the foundation of the home visitor’s work. Within the context of relationships, home visitors:

  • Support parents and families in developing secure relationships with their children
  • Help parents observe their children’s skills, behaviors, and interests
  • Engage with parents and families to plan each home visit
  • Help parents offer child-focused, structured learning interactions and experiences — using your program’s curriculum as the foundation — that support their child’s school readiness (see School Readiness in the Home-Based Option in the Home Visitor’s Online Handbook)
  • Involve parents and families in completing the required developmental screening within 45 days of a child’s enrollment
  • Engage parents and families in the ongoing assessment process

In addition to working with parents on their child’s development, home visitors support parents in working toward other goals — as they pursue education, develop life skills, build foundations of economic mobility, and access comprehensive health services for themselves and their children. Developing family partnership agreements is an essential part of this support.

As the home-based supervisor, you:

  • Help home visitors navigate the many important elements of home visits
  • Go on home visits to meet families and observe home visitors in action
  • Provide strengths-based feedback and support reflective practices
  • Share your knowledge about child development by promoting partnerships with families, family engagement, Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) and other relevant regulations, and program policies, procedures, and protocols that support their work
  • Structure policies and procedures to ensure the safety of home visitors when they go on home visits
  • Put systems in place to help home visitors organize their time and document and track the important work they are doing

You can accomplish all of this work through joint visits, supervision, professional development, and other program supports.