"The Reginald S. Lourie Center for Infants and Young Children Early Head Start Program provides comprehensive, year-round, child and family development services to low-income families with children, prenatal to three years old. During weekly home visits and parent-toddler activity groups, trained Early Head Start staff plan activities with families to foster the child's development, increase family literacy, promote healthy parent-child relationships, provide parenting support and education. . . . Our bilingual staff have the opportunity to establish close relationships with families and work in partnership with parents towards achieving goals for children and families. Home visiting has proven to be particularly effective with families seeking assistance in parenting their young children. . . . We provide direct assistance in helping the parent learn effective parenting strategies, reinforcing the parent as the child's first and most important nurturer, teacher and advocate, and learning to use the home as a learning environment.” (Excerpts from Lourie Center EHS program description.)
KIPS Blog: Parenting Assessment in Practice & Research
Guest Contribution by: Alison Fennell
North Western Community Action Program
Early Head Start
Learn more about www.norwescap.org
New Jersey’s North Western Community Action Program (NORWESCAP) offers Early Head Start sites in 4 counties (Hunterdon, Morris, Sussex, Warren), serving 193 families. The programs serve urban, suburban and rural, highly diverse populations. To optimally serve such diverse needs NORWESCAP delivers Early Head Start using two models: home-based and combined model services, combining center-based and home visiting. Given this diversity, our experience is relevant to most other Early Head Start programs.
What Does School Readiness Mean?
Head Start and Early Head Start (HS/EHS) aims to get children from low-income families ready for school. According to The Head Start Approach to School Readiness-Overview, this means, "children are ready for school, families are ready to support their children's learning, and schools are ready for children. . . . For parents and families, school readiness means they are engaged in the long-term, lifelong success of their child. Head Start recognizes that parents are their children's primary teachers and advocates.” As discussed in earlier posts, because parenting quality is the strongest predictor of child success, a strong focus on parenting makes sense. Following the recent report from the Advisory Committee on Head Start Research and Evaluation; the emphasis on parenting in HS/EHS programs is likely to increase.
Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS) was modeled on well-researched interventions that included strong parenting services as part of the program. HS/EHS has taken strides in returning to two of its original tenets, honoring the parent-child relationship and empowering parents to nurture their children’s learning and development. The Office of Head Start infused new energy into partnering with families by establishing a National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement (PFCE). One of the Center’s first tasks was to introduce the PFCE Framework. This is a thoughtful guide for programs to follow in building relationships with families that support family well-being, parent-child relationships, and ongoing learning and development for children so they are ready for school and successful in their early school years.