Head Start, Early Head Start Go Online to Maintain Services During COVID-19
All Head Start and Early Head Start classes have been suspended and will remain closed until further notice; class openings will be determined by the ability to implement recommendations by the CDC and other heath authorities. Head Start management has been instrumental in developing plans to deliver services remotely to children and families. A communication plan around engaging children and families has been developed. The program goal during the COVID-19 pandemic is to maintain relationships and connections while taking a coordinated approach to service delivery: the program aims to meet the families where they are now.
Head Start and Early Head Start Family Liaisons have been providing family supports with resources and referrals. All families in need of diapers and wipes have received and will continue to receive delivery of these items directly to their homes. The program has ensured that families receive updated information on free breakfast and lunch from the local school districts, as well as food pantry information.
Head Start and Early Head Start teachers are working remotely with families and children. Each teacher has developed individualized plans with their families. The program is committed to individualized planning to ensure that families feel supported and are not overwhelmed. The teachers are using a variety of technology (Zoom and Class Dojo) to carry out plans and, when needed, other forms of communication can be put in place. Teachers are providing families with ideas and activities for children to do, to support both their child’s individual needs and school readiness goals. During this pandemic, areas of focus may shift from the child’s current school readiness goals to an enhanced focus on social and emotional well-being, developing routines and maintaining progress. In addition to individualized work, the teachers will also provide opportunities for families to engage in classroom connection.
The program is using the Facebook social media platform extensively, including, but not limited to:
• Keeping families informed on program updates
• Resource sharing
• Ideas for activities
• Staff members and others reading books
• Staff members sharing science experiments
• Staff members doing music and movement
• Staff members saying hello and wishing everyone well to maintain connection