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Parent Leadership and Engagement

Families play a critical role in helping children prepare for school and a lifetime of academic success. Head Start and Early Head Start programs partner with families in this endeavor, providing parents and families with the necessary support and empowerment for successful developmental and educational outcomes.

Our goal is to engage families in partnerships that support the healthy growth and development of children, parents and the community. This begins with developing relationships and focusing on goals families create with the support of program staff and engaged community partners.

We place an emphasis on parent engagement and believe that parents are an integral part of the program’s success. Families have leadership opportunities in all service areas, because successful parent engagement requires positive, ongoing and goal-oriented activities.

Leadership Opportunities

In addition to the policy council and parent committees that make up the program governance structure, MARC Head Start has developed two groups, the Parent Leadership Team and Father Involvement Teams, to encourage meaningful engagement of families.

The Parent Leadership Team develops and implements projects and initiatives based on their interests and that support family well-being, strong parent- child relationships and ongoing learning and development. Past initiatives include training for parents as certified Car Seat Technicians who provided safe installation of car seats; review and selection of Parent Education Curricula choices; parents trained and serving as Parent Café facilitators; and the development of “HS Parent Ambassadors” to support program-wide recruitment efforts.

MARC Head Start worked with consultants from the National Center for Fathering to build an infrastructure where fathering is integrated in every service area. Father Involvement Teams intentionally plan for the involvement of fathers in all aspects of the program and include fathers as trained facilitators of these experiences.