Options for Full-Day Services for Children Participating in Head Start . Parent Involvement

03/07/1995

The NRCA has an active parent involvement component that is tailored as much as possible to the schedules of parents who work or attend school full-time. The director has been able to use community resources, such as a local Community Services Board, two local universities, and one community college, to provide parent training in areas such as family violence, parenting skills, and literacy, which she considers one of the hallmarks of her program. Staff perform home visits in the evenings, when necessary, and most parent center meetings and Policy Council meetings are held at night. In cases where parent activities must be held during the work day, the director said that special efforts are made to see that working parents obtain the information covered in the activity.

Twice yearly, in November and April, the Head Start program hosts a Parent Seminar Day in one of the centers — attended by about 85 parents. At each seminar day, parents choose three or four workshops in areas such as Self-Esteem/Assertiveness, Providing Effective Guidance and Discipline, Coping with Stress for Adults, or The Job Search. Transportation, lunch, and child care is provided for all attendees, and door prizes are used as extra attendance incentives. Both Head Start staff and local community experts, such as university professors, serve as workshop presenters; these outside experts either donate their time or charge a nominal fee. This activity has been successful, and parents often plan ahead to take time off from work or school to attend Parent Seminar Day.