Socialization is individualized to address the developmental level of each participating child as well as goals, needs and resources of each family. The environment for group socialization is a key ingredient in the success of socialization experiences. Various elements-planning and documenting, parent engagement, physical environment, and approach to curriculum- work together to create meaningful socialization experiences in EHS.


The purpose of socialization experiences for infants and toddlers is to support child development by strengthening the parent-child relationships. Socialization builds on the experiences and goals that are addressed during home visits, as well as attends to the needs of both children and parents. The socialization experience provides families and staff members with special opportunities to support child development and learning.


  1. EHS staff will complete The Socialization Planning Form to plan the bi-monthly socialization and parent chat meetings. Completed forms are filed in the Socialization binder.

Guidelines for the completion of The Socialization Planning Form:

Planning a Socialization and Parent Chat meeting.

  1. Planning and Documenting
    1. Group socialization offers unique opportunities for parents and young children to build on goals and experiences of home visits; and the benefits are two-fold.
      1. It is added time for infants, toddlers, and their parents to strengthen their relationships as well as providing parents opportunities to observe their children in a different setting, with different materials and experiences.
      2. Parents have the opportunity to interact with other adults who share common interests and goals.
    2. Parents have a role in planning socialization. It is helpful to gather information from parents about topics that are meaningful.
    3. Careful planning on the part of the home visitor and the parent ensures that the goals of socialization are linked to the goals of home visits, so that family goals are built upon and are meaningful for parents and their young children.
    4. It is an expectation that socialization is led by the home visitor or other familiar staff person to support the continuity of care for children and families during the socialization experiences.
  2. Parent engagement
    1. As part of the ongoing family partnership agreement process, EHS staff must build in specific roles for parents in home visits and socialization. These roles provide a way to engage parents in all aspects of socialization, including the planning process, delivery, and evaluation of the socialization experience. Parents are encouraged to provide feedback on the curriculum for their individual child.
    2. Interacting and networking with other parents is another element of successful engagement in socialization. Parents can gain greater insight into their own child, support other parents, and develop a sense of community as they develop relationships with other families and community members.
    3. EHS staff can engage parents by modeling how to observe their child’s interactions and explorations and expand those learning opportunities.
    4. The children are to be supervised by their own parents through observation and active participation. The Early Head Start Educator assists in the supervision and observation of the socialization experience.
  3. Environments for Socialization
    1. Everything in the environment has the potential for learning as infants and toddlers use all of their senses to explore the sights, sounds, tastes, and textures of everything with which they come into contact. Carefully selected materials and planned experiences provide stimulation in all areas of development (Socialization Planning Form section Group Experiences/Goals)
  4. Curricula
    1. Curricula for infants and toddlers are based on experiences rather than activities. These experiences focus on the way children relate to materials, and to adults and one another instead of directing how they manipulate something or have an end product, such as something they “make”.
    2. Balancing the needs of participating children and families is linked to thoughtful planning, careful observation, and regular documentation.
    3. Socialization offer numerous “teachable moments” that can create relevant, but unplanned, learning opportunities. These learning experiences often have the greatest impact because they are connected to authentic experiences.
  5. Prenatal Services
    1. Pregnant women are also encouraged to attend socialization and are provided with opportunities to interact with other women in various stages of pregnancy, new parents, and more experienced parents.

This policy meetings Performance Standards: Sec. 1306.33(a)(1)(2); Sec. 1304.53(a)(1)(2)(3); Sec. 1304.21 (b)(1)(i)(ii),(b)(2)(iii)(iv),(b)(3)(v)(vi)

Approved by Policy Council: October 2012