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

03/07/1995

MVCDC has had some difficulty in involving parents in the program. On the 1993-94 PIR, they reported that 31 percent of parents had volunteered in the classroom and 17 percent had attended at least one parent education session, in comparison with national averages of 63 percent and 56 percent respectively. Staff report that they have tried to encourage parents to become involved in several ways:

  • By changing the times of the meetings to accommodate parent schedules; many meetings are now held from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. to match the times that many parents come to pick up their children;
  • By increasing the ways in which a parent may become involved: staff ask parents to prepare materials for class (which can be done at home in the evening or over a weekend) and encourage them to volunteer on their days off; and
  • By building the Family Service Center program with a smaller case load, so that families can connect more strongly to staff.

But the realities of the time constraints on parents have limited their involvement in the program. Staff report: (a) that parents who are in school are more likely to become involved than those who are working, and (b) that an enthusiastic teacher who rounds up parental support can make all the difference.