Ideal Learning Head Start Network
The Ideal Learning Head Start Network aims to facilitate the integration of ideal learning approaches into Head Start, ensuring that…
A library of sample documents, reports, and other resources to help early learning providers implement ideal learning approaches within Head Start.
This brief provides lessons learned and policy strategies to strengthen the inclusion of ideal learning approaches in Head Start programming. The report pulls from a series of conversations between 7-10 Head Start providers who use ideal learning approaches (the Ideal Learning Head Start Network) about multiple issues, including: funding, child assessments, program quality, teacher and administration training, and guidance and support from outside community organizations.
This brief provides guidance on how Ideal Learning providers can partner with existing Head Start grantees to serve children from disadvantaged households and their families. The document outlines key questions and important elements to address when considering, developing, and implementing successful partnerships.
Despite near consensus in the research literature on why educators should provide economically integrated learning environments, less is known about how programs can achieve effective economic integration. This case study from the Educational Alliance (EA) preschool at the Manny Cantor Center (MCC) in New York City provides a detailed overview of (1) the practices required for integration; (2) the experiences of students, parents, staff, and program leadership; (3) lessons learned; and (4) recommendations for practitioners, policymakers and researchers seeking to promote economically integrated early childhood learning environments.
Engaging parents, families and communities is a key aspect of Head Start’s model. Ideal Learning programs in our network agree that Head Start’s requirements are supportive of strong family engagement while allowing enough flexibility for each program to approach this area in its own way. In Iberville Parish, Louisiana, Head Start families complete a survey at the beginning of each school year that helps inform parent engagement offerings throughout the year.
A key goal of the Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership grants is to increase the supply of high-quality services for infants and toddlers from families with low incomes. To work toward this goal, EHS-CC Partnership grantees must create collaborative relationships with child care partners in their communities. Legally binding, written partnership agreements are critical. This document from the Office of Head Start details considerations for developing a partnership agreement between an Early Head Start grantee and a childcare center or family child care home.
For small and medium-sized ideal learning programs, applying directly for Head Start funding and operating a full Head Start program may be out of reach. Another alternative is to become a delegate agency, entering into a partnership with a direct Head Start grantee (the lead agency) to provide high-quality early learning spaces. This Letter of Agreement between the Scranton Lackawanna Human Development Agency and Discovery Multiple Intelligences Preschool demonstrates how one partnership was created.
Iberville Parish School Board is a direct grantee of Head Start and operates Head Start programs at six locations around the school district including, Iberville Elementary School, a public Montessori school serving children from age three through 5th grade. Fidelity to the Montessori approach requires three-year mixed-age classes incorporating three- to six-year old children. To create these three-year age groups, each of Iberville Elementary School’s Montessori early learning classes integrates Head Start-funded three-year-olds and four-year-olds; four-year-olds funded through Louisiana PreK; and kindergarten children funded through the district. Each teacher’s and para’s salary is funded by a blend of sources depending on the children in their class. The two resources included here show how this is documented and accounted for.