Involving parents is one of the most important aspects of the Head Start program. We respect parents and recognize they are the first and most important teacher(s) in their child’s life and responsible for their child’s well being. Some of the ways you, as a parent, should be involved are to:
• Attend and/or serve on Parent Committees
• Attend and/or serve on Advisory Committees
• Attend and/or serve on Policy Council
• Volunteer in the classroom
• Eat breakfast or lunch with your child
• Accompany your child’s class on field trips
• Attend workshops, conferences, and training opportunities
• Attend Family Nights
• Male Involvement Opportunities
• Read to your child every day
Classroom and Community VolunteersA program goal is to provide our children and families with positive opportunities and experiences. Your talents, skills, time and knowledge are needed and appreciated. Our program offers a variety of opportunities for parents, extended family, and community members to participate as volunteers in the program.Volunteering can promote the parent-child relationship and help you reinforce your child’s learning at home. You and adult family members are always welcome in the classroom. Many classroom and program activities provide opportunities for you to become involved in your child’s education.
Volunteers and staff will respect and promote the unique identity of your child and family and refrain from stereotyping on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, or disability.
Volunteers and staff will follow program confidentiality policies concerning information about children, families, and other staff members. No child will be left alone or unsupervised while in Head Start. No child will be left alone with a volunteer unless the volunteer is a family member.
Volunteers will receive orientation and training to be prepared to assist with the class activities. These orientation and training sessions will be offered throughout the year. Volunteers will be given a Head Start Volunteer Handbook and will be required to sign the Volunteer Rights and Responsibilities Form.Volunteers are asked to sign in and out and list your hours when volunteering. This helps the program track our in-kind donations which are required for the federal funding Head Start receives.
Non Enrolled Children
Parents are encouraged to volunteer in the classroom without bringing younger siblings. This allows the parent quality time to participate in activities with their Head Start child. However, if siblings come to the classroom, parents must provide direct supervision for the siblings. Siblings are expected to follow and obey all school rules and procedures.Parent supervision of all siblings is important for the safety of everyone. Parent supervision is especially important for younger children as classroom materials are age appropriate for four year olds but may not be for younger children. In addition to safety, parent supervision also enables Head Start teachers to attend to the educational needs of the enrolled Head Start children.During Family Nights and special events, siblings are encouraged to attend and parents will be responsible for providing direct supervision at all times.Policy CouncilThe Policy Council functions as a shared governance board regarding operations, budgets, and procedures of the program. Policy Council members also serve as a link to Parent Committees in communicating with parents enrolled in the Head Start program.Policy Council members operate as the voice for the parents who have children currently enrolled in the program. The Policy Council is made up of no less than 51% current Head Start parents and the remaining members are representatives of the community. A parent and an alternate member are elected from each class and meet once a month. Policy Council members receive training on their roles and responsibilities.Please talk to your child’s teacher or your Family Service Worker to learn more about serving on the Policy Council.Parent Committees
Parent Committees or Parent and Child Together (PACT) are organized at the center or classroom level. Every parent who has a currently enrolled child is a member of the Parent Committee. Activities for the Parent Committee include:• Working with the Policy Council to support overall program operations• Identifying parent interests and to assist with planning activities for parents• Offering the opportunity to participate in monthly planning• Identifying volunteer and community resources that are available to help families• Collaborating with local foundations and other organizations to advocate on behalf of familiesAdvisory Committees
Parent Advisory Committees are designed to ensure that our program meets Head Start Performance Standards. Committees include parents and community members interested in different components of the Head Start program. SCPS Head Start is committed to providing a program that meets the needs of families in our community. To ensure that Head Start is meeting its goals for working with your children, we encourage you to join an Advisory Committee. Talk to your child’s Family Service Worker to become an active participant.Parents as Educational PartnersSCPS Head Start offers workshops, trainings, and learning opportunities for families. Various sessions are presented in collaboration with community agencies. To accommodate family schedules various sessions are offered both during the day and in the evening. Topics may include:• How Young Children Learn• Family Style Meals• Nutrition• Budgeting and Financial Management• Positive Parenting and Behavioral Management• Dental Health Care• First Aid and CPR• Mental HealthFamily NightsSCPS Head Start offers family nights based on various themes in which families, children, and staff participate together in a meal, engage in activities, and take a family photo.Male Involvement
SCPS Head Start also offers Dad's Night Out in which father figures and/or male role models interact with their child for activities and a meal. Father figures also have time to meet as a group with a male mentor for discussion on topics of their choice.