Parent, Family and Community Engagement
Parent and family engagement in Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS) is about building relationships with families that support family well-being, strong relationships between parents and their children, and ongoing learning and development for both parents and children.
The Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework is a road map for progress in achieving the kinds of outcomes that lead to positive and enduring change for children and families. The PFCE Framework was developed in partnership with programs, families, experts, and the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. It is a research-based approach to program change that shows how an agency can work together as a whole—across systems and service areas— to promote parent and family engagement and children’s learning and development.
OCDC serves children from 0 to 6 years of age and provides a variety of education services in both center based programs and home-based programs.
OCDC adopts the Creative Curriculum in all center based programs. The Creative Curriculum is a research-based, widely used curriculum that provides teachers and staff with concrete ideas on how to set up developmentally appropriate environments and activities for children. Implementation of the curriculum includes:
- Using an environmentally based approach developed on a foundation of current research.
- Integrating literacy, math, science, social studies, the arts, and technology throughout the classroom
- Using positive interactions and relationships with adults and building social-emotional competence as the foundation for learning.
- Supporting learning through constructive, purposeful play
In addition to the Creative Curriculum, OCDC also utilizes Transportation Safety Education Curriculum (aka “Safety Sam”) in all center based programs. Safety Sam is a curriculum that stresses school bus and pedestrian safety.It incorporates safety education concepts into classroom activities, bus activities, and parent education materials.
There are other supplemental curriculum available for each individual site to use based on the individual needs of the program and site. Such supplements includes Second Step which is a curriculum that focuses on children’s social emotional competency, High-Five Mathematize, a math curriculum, Early Sprouts, a nutrition curriculum, and I Am Moving, I Am Learning, a physical education curriculum.
In OCDC’s home-based programs, Partners for a Healthy Baby curriculum is used to:
- improving birth outcomes reducing rates of child abuse
- strengthening families
- enhancing child health and
- developmental outcomes promoting family stability and economic self-sufficiency
OCDC programs also utilize Teaching Strategies Gold (TSG) assessment to measure children’s progress in center-based program, and the OUNCE Scale to measure children’s progress in home-based programs. OCDC’s children show steady progress throughout their time in our program. According to this TSG measures, most of OCDC children who are entering kindergarten are meeting the expectations at the end of our programs.
As a Head Start program, OCDC serves about 10% of children with special needs. Staffs in OCDC are trained to quickly start the referral process for children who may need further evaluation, and provide best support to children who already had an existing Individualized Family Support Plan (IFSP).
Inclusion & Special Education
OCDC provides services for children of all abilities, including those with identified special needs. Children with an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) receive first priority for enrollment. Program staff works with parents and Special Education providers to meet each child’s special needs and support individual goals.
Staff supports parents in completing a developmental screening for every child enrolled in the program. Screenings help parents know where their child is at in his or her development, and identifies which children may need extra support because of developmental delays. If needed, children are referred to their local Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education program for evaluation.
OCDC supports parents in advocating for their children with special needs. Training, support, and referrals to advocacy organizations are available for all parents.
Mental Health Services
At OCDC, we follow the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children (the “Pyramid Mode”) that emphasizes
- Prevention of challenging behavior;
- Promotion of social and emotional competencies, and
- Intervention with individualized strategies for the few children who exhibit persistent challenging behaviors that exceed what we would consider developmentally typical.
All OCDC staff receives training on the Pyramid Model so we all interact with children and families in a similar respectful way.
We believe that a child will use appropriate behavior if he/she knew how and was able to do it. We teach and reinforce the behavior we want to see. We never punish or shame children. Our goal is to prepare children for success in school and life by teaching – modeling the behavior we wish to see.
Each county also has a contract with a Licensed Mental Health Professional who is available to meet with families and staff when there are concerns about a child’s behavior or mental wellness that exceed OCDC staff’s skills and expertise. They serve as consultants, offering strategies for children’s behavior both at home and school. In some instances, they help facilitate a referral to community partners for on-going assistance or family therapy.
Family and Health Services
Family & Health Services engages with children, families, staff, and communities to collaboratively promote life-long health and wellness in a culturally responsive manner. Empowerment, advocacy, and education are at the core of quality services. As families gain access to community resources, they build upon their unique strengths and gain assists that promote them as the primary provider of education and life-long healthy practices for their children. OCDC utilizes a strength-based approach for communicating and interacting with families that create a welcoming environment in all interactions with families that is respectful and inclusive of each family’s diversity, cultural and ethnic background.
The USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program is a federally funded program for Head Start and other programs that providing nutritious meals and snacks for OCDC children. Our meals promote healthy eating behaviors, and improve the quality of learning and care in our centers.
OCDC menus are planned to provide the highest nutritional value possible to children, and also planned to meet the cultural habits of families served. New foods are also introduced to children through the menu.
All food is prepared from scratch in OCDC’s kitchens. Fresh fruits and vegetables are used according to seasonal availability; breads and whole grains are used as much as possible. Milk is also served at every breakfast and lunch. Special dietary needs are also attended to.
Center OCDC centers have “center gardens,” where families and children grow – then eat – the vegetables the planted. OCDC also runs a Summer Food Service Program, which ensure that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. The USDA and OCDC are equal opportunity providers and employers.
The Oregon Child Development Coalition is recognized as a natinal leader in Head Start transportation because of the quality transportation services we provide to children in our program. The bus is not just a vehicle to transport children; it is a learning environment on wheels. Our staff interacts with the children using developmentally and culturally appropriate activities that are consistent with what is being taught in their classrooms.
Safety and access to services for the families and their children is of primary importance to us. Bus drivers and assistants receive extensive training that is always aligned to meet and even exceed state and federal regulations. In addition, parents and children are provided with education about pedestrian and school bus safety.
Our transportation staff is known for efficient service and expertise within the State of Oregon and around the country. As such, we are able to act as advocates for the promotion of safe and proficient transportation services for all children.
Children Ready for Kindergarten
OCDC prepares enrolled children for kindergarten in multiple ways. At OCDC we believe that school readiness is not just about children’s academic skills, it is also is about the readiness of families and schools. OCDC provides a broad range of services to families (including but not limited to parent education, medical and dental care for children, and services to pregnant women)that support overall family readiness for learning and growth.
Every child receives a variety of learning experiences to foster intellectual, social, and emotional growth. Activities develop language, pre-reading and writing skills, and basic number concepts. Children learn about the world around them and how to work together. Classroom activities promote self-confidence and a passion for learning.