Some families with children between birth and kindergarten can receive services in their own home. These services are funded through the Early Head Start and Head Start programs.
Parents participating in this program receive a one and a half hour visit from a Home Educator once a week. The Home educator provides them with educational materials and other resources that will help them prepare their children for success in school. The children are screened for special needs and the Home Educator helps the parent access any special services their child may need to support their physical, social and educational development.
All services provided to the home-visited family are the same quality as those given in centers. The only difference is the home setting, which is used as the learning environment, and the parent is the primary educator. The home visitor role is to be the facilitator. For Early Head Start, the parent-child bonding and attachment is one of the most important home visitation goals.
During the home visits, the Home Educators demonstrate how to use the learning materials they have brought with them and guides the parent in teaching their child. At the end of each session the parent and teacher evaluate the day’s activity and the parent plans the follow week’s activities with the teacher for the next home visit. Between visits the parents reinforce the learning skills presented during the home visit.
Twice a month, the Home Educator brings the child and parent to a classroom setting for a socialization experience with other families participating in the home based program. This permits the child to interact with other children in a preschool learning environment and connects the parent with other parents for mutual parenting support. Parents have the opportunity to observe their children in social interaction with other children and to observe teachers in group teaching activities.
During the socialization period, nutritious meals are served and the parents are provided training from professionals on a wide variety of topics of concern to parents including: nutrition, child growth and development, positive discipline, home safety, and other topics the parents select as of interest to them.
Parents are invited to participate in the Parent Policy Council as part of the governing structure for Head Start and Early Head Start.