Options for Full-Day Services for Children Participating in Head Start . Parent Activities for Working Parents


Parent activities are also difficult to arrange for parents who are at work or in training. With the exception of Moorhead, IA, grantees have had to find ways to fit parent activities into the busy lives of working parents. In Moorhead, parent involvement activities are a requirement from Job Corps, the program cosponsor. Job Corps requires that each parent spend the morning in Head Start one week of each month; volunteering in the Head Start classroom is built into the Job Corps schedule.

The other grantees have created opportunities for parent involvement that are tailored to the needs of the parents. For instance, one grantee located on a university campus, set up a computer lab where parents can stop by between classes and practice keyboarding or word processing skills. Another hosts a Parent Seminar day for working parents on a weekday. Others use breaks in training programs or non-work hours for scheduled parent activities. Holding regularly scheduled weekend "fix-up" days at the centers and scheduling parent involvement activities more intensively during semester breaks are two other ways activities have been modified for full-day parents. And finally, one grantee with family child care providers holds meetings at their homes. This not only is more convenient for the parents but also provides an atmosphere that is friendly and familiar.

In addition, several grantees have developed parent activities that can be done at home. In one case, each full-day Head Start child has a log in which the teacher writes daily. The logs go home with the children twice a week. The parents can simply read the logs, respond to something that was written by the teacher, or write a note of their own with comments or questions for the teacher. Information in the logs helps both teachers and parents provide the best care for the children.

Grantees also try to encourage parents of full-day children to participate on policy councils. All grantees open policy council membership to parents of full-day as well as part-day children. Some have slots reserved for this group. However, the already hectic and stressful lives of full-day parents do sometimes limit their interest in taking on added responsibilities, such as participating on the policy councils.