Family Support Engagement
Family Engagement at Heritage Head Start
"In every conceivable manner, the family is the link to our past, the bridge to our future."
Raising the next generation is a shared responsibility. When families, communities and schools work together, students are more successful and the entire community benefits. Parents at Heritage Head Start are encouraged to be leaders, facilitators, and participants in the program, and there are many ways to be involved.
Family Support Specialists share opportunities that encourage all family members to strengthen their leadership skills and gain new knowledge. Families, in turn, share information with staff and each other about child development, family activities, program decision-making, and community advocacy.
Perhaps the biggest strength of Heritage Head Start is our diversity. Our collective community brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the program that creates an environment where we all learn and grow together. Here are some examples:
Learning at home
Parents are children’s first and most important teachers. Our family cultures and traditions make up who we are and what we bring to the world. As children, parents, teachers, and staff get to know one another, the bridge between home and school becomes stronger. Sharing information with one another happens through phone calls, visits, conferences, and conversations. Our relationships with each other are invaluable.
Participating in classroom studies
Families are an integral part of our classroom studies. During our studies on bread, for example, parents have visited the classroom to prepare pupusas, malawah, tortillas, and more. During our studies on clothing, parents have shared sewing and weaving skills, traditional garments, and the historical significance of design. During our studies on building, parents have shared materials, techniques, and information on buildings and architecture past and present.
Participating in parent groups
Families have the opportunity to learn and connect with one another through a variety of groups. Last year’s Breakfast with Dads featured breakfasts from around the world and educational topics addressing the importance of fatherhood, school involvement, and managing screen time.
Advocating for change
Policy Council, a shared governance group, offers parent representatives the opportunity to participate in policy and procedure development, hiring, and lobbying for early learning, all under a framework that envisions success for every child through collaborative work towards anti-racist, multicultural practices.
Parent professional development programs have allowed us to learn (in-home language) about health advocacy, reading to children, and more from our own professionally trained parent community. Our Parent Committee plans and budgets for fun and educational activities that integrate and celebrate our strengths and stories. For information on how to get involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.