Options for Full-Day Services for Children Participating in Head Start . Programmatic Differences in Full-day Services


In addition to the traditional Head Start portion of the day, each full-day provider had to develop a program for the extended hours. Four of the grantees had a short structured activity in the afternoon and scheduled free play for the rest of the time. The others found that structured activities were too often interrupted during the afternoon, as children left for the day. For these grantees, the time after naps and snack was spent exclusively in free play.

Grantees also had to find new and innovative ways to schedule parent activities, home visits, and teacher training. Whereas staff from part-day programs can work with parents during the day, staff in full-day programs cannot because parents with children in full-day programs are at work or in training during these times. Overall, grantees were quite successful at finding ways to integrate parent activities and home visits into the full-day programs, using such methods as scheduling visits and activities at convenient times for parents (e.g., during breaks between college terms, at the end of work shifts), constructing activities that could support the program but be done in the evenings or on weekends (e.g., prepare materials for an activity, help renovate a room), and keeping a log for each child in which parents and teachers make regular entries. Grantees were also creative in devising ways to provide training to full-day staff, including liberal use of substitutes and closing periodically for training days.