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 by the first large group day of the program year or within two weeks of child’s first day of attendance for those entering the program later in the year.


  1. DST will orient new parents to the program. Re-enrollees will be asked to update their paperwork prior to the start of the new school year and will not need to attend another parent orientation session. (see Child & Adult Care Food Program Child Enrollment Policy)
  2. The FSC will coordinate group orientation sessions in the fall and individual orientations with high need families as they enter the program.
  3. Teachers will assist at orientations to cover education related topics. Teachers will also orient new families who enter later in the program year unless assigned to the FSC.
  4. Each parent will receive a parent handbook/calendar at orientation. DST members will refer back to the handbook/calendar and cover the following information during orientation in the order in which it appears in the program information guide calendar:
    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.
    2. DST will plan for two way communication between staff and parents:
      1. Phone calls
      2. Mail, e-mails
      3. Notes home with children
      4. Monthly newsletters (see policy)
      5. Home visits and Parent/Teacher conferences (see policy)
      6. Monthly site calendars
      7. Fliers about upcoming events
      8. Visits at centers
      9. Parent information notebooks
    3. Parents will receive an explanation of the following:
      1. Attendance policy
      2. Child Abuse policy
      3. Home visits
      4. Family Partnership and Engagement process for parents
      5. Goal setting
      6. Information and referral
      7. Crisis intervention
      8. Translation services for non-English speakers
      9. Family activity events
      10. Importance of male involvement
      11. Curricula used
      12. Parent access to the site
    4. Parents will receive:
      1. A parent handbook/calendar
      2. Bussing / Pedestrian Safety Packet
      3. Community Resource Directory
      4. Policy Council information brochure
      5. Mental Health letter
      6. “Things parents should know about celebrations”
    5. Parents will complete the following forms:
      1. Parent Education and Information Survey
      2. Volunteering – Ways You Can Help
      3. Orientation checklist
    6. Orientation may also include completion of:
      1. Child Strengths & Interest form
      2. ASQSE
      3. Family Cultural Profile
  5. Each FSC will submit a plan  to complete orientation for their region to the RM and FCP Consultant.

Orientation Follow up

  1. FSC will enter all completed orientation information into WebCAF.
  2. FSC will place copy of all orientation forms in the child’s site file, family service section.
  3. Each FSC will develop a plan for each site location in their region to include four events which will include orientation, open house, a winter family event and end of the year event. All must include parent education information/activities.
  4. FSC will submit a parent education plan for their region to the FCP Consultant and RM.
  5. 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 must be part of the election form and re-elected for the new program year.
    3. When votes have been tallied, results will be shared through site newsletters.
      1. Votes will be tallied by a neutral person and documentation kept in the family information notebooks
        1. Representative names will be submitted to the Executive Administrative Assistant immediately following the elections results, which will be completed by mid October.
        2. Representative name, photo and contact information will be posted on parent bulletin board at the site.
  6. Present the finished Parent Education Plan at the open house or first family activity event.
  7. FSC will provide training at family activity events, will contact agency consultants and specialists as well as outside agency representatives and trainers as needed to address the topics that parents have requested. Additional training materials such as videos, books, handouts and other resources may be available from program consultants and Specialists to address topics.
  8. In addition to the Parent Education Plan the individual requests from the Parent Education and Interest Survey will be addressed in WebCAF I & R table for each family (See Information and Referral policy) and will occur on an ongoing basis during the program year.
  9. 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).
  10. Parents who plan to volunteer frequently in the classroom will be requested to complete the central background registry and 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.
It was approved by Policy Council on September 9, 1997. August 14, 2007, August 12, 2014
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

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