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

03/07/1995

Parent involvement is organized in the same manner for contracted centers and homes as for the grantee's part-day Head Start, under the direction of the Head Start parent involvement coordinator. This coordinator also was a Head Start teacher and is creative in identifying ways that parents can be involved in the classroom. Parents are encouraged to volunteer in the program (e.g., options are offered so that meetings and workshops coincide with parents' needs and schedule).

A survey is sent out to all parents, asking them to check off what they can do in class — offering, in addition to volunteering in class, the chance to participate in field trips, special occasions, and visiting during lunch hours. The survey also lists other options for parents, including providing or preparing art materials, washing clothes used in the dramatic play area, baking cupcakes, and so on. The completed surveys are kept at the centers so that staff can see where parents are able to help; and all parents, not just Head Start parents, are encouraged to volunteer.

A second survey, which is kept by the parent involvement coordinator, asks parents to check off topics they are interested in for parent meetings. All centers have different times for parent meetings, with the dates and topics decided upon by the parents themselves. As it is very difficult for many parents to come to meetings, Head Start encourages participation by providing child care and transportation for parents who need either or both.