Performance Improvement 2001. Celebrating Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Head Start: Final Report


This study was commissioned by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) to study the diversity in language and culture of the Head Start population and to identify the range of services provided to this population. Three primary data sources were used to conduct the investigation: data from Head Start Program Information Report (PIR), an annual self-report survey of all Head Start programs; surveys; and site visits to 30 programs, including 58 classrooms. Highlights of the findings include: (1) The children and families served by Head start are diverse in culture and language, listing over 140 languages spoken by Head Start children; (2) nationwide, Head Start staff generally reflected the ethnicity of the children and families they served; (3) classroom observations found that multicultural materials and activities are plentiful; (4) parents reported being pleased with program attempts to respond to the linguistic and cultural uniqueness of their children; (5) parents make substantial cultural contributions to their children's classroom and (6) Head Start provides many services to parents, including life skills classes and educational opportunities. One barrier found by some Head Start programs was the difficulty in finding and coordinating with health service providers who spoke the families' home languages.

AGENCY SPONSOR: Administration on Children, Youth and Families

FEDERAL CONTACT: Gail Joseph, 202-205-8713

PIC ID: 5845

PERFORMER: STRA, Inc., Washington, DC