Parents are given opportunities to learn about the program structure and philosophy of Head Start and how they are implemented in their child’s Head Start experience.


Orientations will occur within the first 30 days of child’s first day of attendance.


  1. FSC and/or DST will orient new parents to the program. Returning families will be asked to update their paperwork prior to the start of the new school year. Returning families will not need to attend another parent orientation session. (see Child & Adult Care Food Program Child Enrollment Policy). Returning families are welcome to attend the parent orientation session.
  2. The FSC will coordinate group orientation sessions in the fall and individual orientations with high need families as they enter the program.
  3. Families who enter later in the program year will receive orientation as part of the intake process (see Intake policy).
    1. Teaching staff will be responsible for completing any strength and needs assessments and orientation information that does not get completed during the intake process.
  4. Each parent will receive a  program information guide calendar at orientation. Use the program information guide/calendar to cover the following information during orientation.
    1. Fill in names of staff, address and phone for site, other support staff, classroom schedule (see back page) in the group setting at orientation.
  5. Establish a plan for two way communication between staff and parents:
    1. Phone calls
    2. Mail, e-mails,
    3. Text (Child Plus / REMIND)
    4. Notes home with children
    5. Home visits and Parent/Teacher conferences (see policy)
    6. Monthly site calendars
    7. Fliers about upcoming events
  6. Parents will receive an explanation of the following:
    1. Attendance policy
    2. Child Abuse policy
    3. Home visits / Parent Teacher conferences
    4. Family Partnership and Engagement process for parents (goal setting, I & R, crisis)
    5. Translation services for non-English speakers
    6. Family activity events
    7. Importance of male involvement
    8. Curricula used with solicited input from parents
    9. Parent access to the site
  7. Parents will receive:
    1. A parent handbook/calendar
    2. Community Resource Directory (if not provided at intake)
    3. Policy Council information brochure
    4. Mental Health letter (see Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center Publications for versions in several languages
  8. Parents will complete the following forms:
    1. Parent Education and Information Survey (information will be used for parent event planning)
    2. Volunteering – Ways You Can Help

Orientation Follow up

  1. Designated staff will enter all completed orientation information into  Child Plus.
  2. Each FSC will submit a parent education plan for their region to the Family & Community Engagement Consultant and RM with topics and potential dates Consultant and RM.
  3. FSC will contact each parent that has shown interest in Policy Council either verbally or through the Volunteer Sign Up form to confirm if they will run for a position. Inform parent of the Policy Council training.
    1. Use the standard Policy Council election form to conduct the annual site-level Policy Council elections.
    2. If there are returning Policy Council representatives they recomplete an election form and be re-elected for the new program year.
    3. When votes have been tallied, results will be posted on parent board at sites.
      1. Votes will be tallied by a neutral person.
        1. Child CP and Representative names will be submitted to the Executive Administrative Assistant immediately following the elections results, which will be completed by mid October.
              1. Representative name, photo and contact information will be posted on parent bulletin board at the site.
              2. Interested parents not elected can apply to the Policy Council as a Community Representative (see Policy Council bylaws).
  4. Parents who have expressed volunteer interests will be contacted when volunteer support is needed in that area. Discussion around volunteer opportunities should also be addressed on home visits and at the family activity event (see Volunteer-Ways You Can Help form). Contact the Volunteer Coordinator to schedule the administrative volunteer orientation. FSC or other DST will complete site level volunteer orientation following the administrative volunteer orientation.
  5. Parents who plan to volunteer frequently in the classroom will attend an orientation with the Volunteer Coordinator followed by a site level orientation.

This policy complies with Head Start Performance Standards 45 CFR Section 1304.40. 1302.50, 1302.52, 1302.80, 1302.18, 1302.34, 1302.51, 1302.30, 1302.31, 1302.46, 1302.70, 1302.71, 1302.72, 1302.22, 1302.82

It was approved by Policy Council on September 9, 1997. August 14, 2007, August 12, 2014. August 2019
Updated July 8, 2002. May 30, 2003. May 25, 2004. August 30, 2006.August 2007. August 2008. August 2012. July 2013. August 2013. July 2014. August 2019

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