Icon_ Head Start Basics

Parent & Family Engagement Basics

Online • On-Demand • 1 PD Hr

Head Start Basics Series

Explores how early education programs can partner with families to support children’s healthy development, school readiness, and wellbeing by following Head Start’s renowned whole-family model.


Did you know that parents of Head Start children are more likely to read with their children, continue their own education, and be strong advocates for their children’s education? Head Start programs are committed to supporting not just the children they teach, but their parents and families, too. Head Start helps families address their immediate needs while giving them support as they plan for future goals. This includes job training opportunities, developing good health and information about important child development milestones so parents learn more ways to create encouraging home environments and enhance their relationships with their children. 

This course explores responsive practices and strategies that early childhood educators can use to engage with families. While diving into the Office of Head Start’s rich Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework, learners will discover how family engagement can promote positive, enduring change for children, families, and communities. Learners will also hear how to create opportunities for families to participate in programming and other coordinated family engagement strategies that go beyond the classroom and into the home or community. Family engagement requires making a commitment to creating and sustaining an ongoing partnership that supports family wellbeing. It also honors and supports the parent-child relationships that are central to a child’s healthy development, school readiness, and wellbeing.

Start Date: Available on-demand

Course Level: Beginner

Requirements/Prerequisites: None

Target Audience: Instruction and Effective Practice, Leadership and Management, Program Operations, Support Services

Course Meeting Times: None

Completion Timeline/Duration: One Month

Alignment with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF): This course supports programs in meeting the 1302.34: Parent and family engagement in education and child development services requirement of the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) in which “center-based and family child care programs must structure education and child development services to recognize parents’ roles as children’s lifelong educators, and to encourage parents to engage in their child’s education.”

Course Outline

Module Topics:

  • Family Engagement, Family Engagement Framework, Fatherhood

Learning Objectives: 

  • Learners will understand the requirements set forth by the HSPPS related to family engagement. 
  • Learners will understand the Head Start PFCE Framework and how it impacts their program operations and their specific role. 
  • Learners will understand how Head Start specifically focuses on fatherhood to ensure fathers feel welcome and encouraged to engage in both Head Start programming and their child’s development and growth.

Course Author

Dr. Deborah Bergeron

Dr. Deborah Bergeron

Dr. B served as director of the Office of Head Start from 2018-21. From 2019-21 she broadened her leadership as director of the Office of Early Childhood Development in the Administration for Children and Families. Known as "Dr. B" to former students and teachers, she spent three decades in pre-K–12 public education as a classroom teacher and school administrator. She currently serves as deputy director for Community Engagement and Innovation at the National Head Start Association.

Registration Rates

Regular Rate: $50

NHSA Member Rate: $25

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  • Online, Self-Paced Content
  • 1 Hour of Course Material
  • Video Content
  • 45 Days of Access to Online Course
  • Digital Badge
  • Certificate of Completion with Professional Development Hours
  • 24/7 Access to Transcript

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