Equity Head Start IL Practice Movement Building
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Ideal Learning Head Start Network

A library of sample documents, reports, and other resources to help early learning providers implement ideal learning approaches within Head Start.


Partnering with a Head Start Grantee to Become a Delegate Agency

Resource: Building Partnerships to Access Head Start Funding

Trust for Learning, Montessori Partnerships for Georgia, and HighScope Educational Research Foundation

Contact: Iheoma U. Iruka, Early Childhood Health and Racial Equity Program, University of North Carolina, iruka@unc.edu

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.

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Resource: Letter of Agreement, Scranton Lackawanna Human Development Agency and Discovery Multiple Intelligences Preschool

Scranton, PA

Contact: Stacy Nivert, Discovery Multiple Intelligences Preschool, mydiscoverypreschool@gmail.com

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.

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Resource: Developing Partnership Agreements: Lessons from One Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Grantee

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.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start, National Center on EHS-CCP

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Policy Recommendations to Improve Head Start

Policy Actions Needed to Support Ideal Learning Programs through Head Start

Contact: Iheoma U. Iruka, Early Childhood Health and Racial Equity Program, University of North Carolina, iruka@unc.edu

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.

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Economic Integration and Head Start

Resource: Educational Alliance UPK Economic Integration Case Study Report

Educational Alliance Preschool at the Manny Cantor Center, New York, New York

Contact: Louis Hamlyn-Harris, Senior Director, Early Childhood, lhamlynharris@mannycantor.org

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.

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Braiding Funding Sources

Resources:

 

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.


Explaining and Aligning Curriculum to Head Start’s Early Learning Outcomes Framework

Resource: Bachman Lake Community School Toddler Classroom Curriculum

Lumin Bachman Lake Community School, Dallas, TX

Contact: Ruthy Suni, Program and Disabilities Manager, Lumin Education, ruthy.suni@lumineducation.org

Lumin Bachman Lake provides Early Head Start through home visits as well as a toddler classroom. Their description of a Montessori toddler classroom curriculum was adapted with permission from the Montessori National Curriculum developed by Montessori Australia.


Resources: Montessori Toddler Curriculum Alignment to Early Learning Outcomes Framework

Lumin Bachman Lake Community School, Dallas, TX

Contact: Ruthy Suni, Program and Disabilities Manager, Lumin Education, ruthy.suni@lumineducation.org

 

These documents, created by coaches and teachers at Lumin Bachman Lake Community School, align the experiences and activities of a Montessori toddler classroom (“infant community,” in Montessori language) with the domains and sub-domains of Head Start’s Early Learning Outcomes Framework.


Engaging Families

Resource: Family Interest Survey, Iberville Parish Early Childhood Program

Iberville Parish School Board, Plaquemine, Louisiana

Contact: Lydia Canova, Early Childhood Coordinator, lydiacanova@ipsb.education

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.

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Resource: Strategies for Implementing the Head Start Parent, Family and Community Engagement Framework

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start, National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. (2019)

This document, produced through the Office of Head Start, provides detailed guidance to Head Start grantees on ways to ensure that engaging parents, families and communities is a priority throughout all aspects of the program.

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Supporting and Developing Staff

Resources:

Child-Parent Centers, Tuscon, AZ and surrounding counties

Contact: Leo Lundholm, Education Services Director, llundholm@childparentcenters.org 

Child-Parent Centers, an organization with 43Head Start centers following a Reggio-inspired approach, has developed a strong career pathway for Head Start parents and community members to move from casual volunteering to becoming “housed substitutes” working 20 hours a week, then potentially to becoming classroom teachers.


Resource: Reflection and Planning Questions

Educational Alliance Preschool at the Manny Cantor Center, New York, New York

Contact: Louis Hamlyn-Harris, Senior Director, Early Childhood, lhamlynharris@mannycantor.org

In a Reggio Emilia-inspired approach, new lessons emerge out of the children’s previous explorations and questions. Educational Alliance Preschool staff members work together on a weekly basis to discuss children’s work and play and identify new directions for learning. This form helps guide them through a process of first reflecting on what they have observed and then planning how to build on the knowledge the children are creating.

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Creating Physical Environments that Support Development

Resources:

Community Coordinated Child Care, Louisville, KY

Contact: Lisa Branstetter, Education Curator, lisa-branstetter@4cforkids.com

As part of their transition to Reggio Emilia-inspired programming, the early learning centers supported by Community Coordinated Child Care have created nature playgrounds, replacing traditional play structures with natural materials, movable parts, water, sand, and other items that nurture creative and collaborative play.

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