Head Start – Parents as Partners


Family members are encouraged to volunteer and participate in all Head Start activities. They may assist by working in the classroom with the children or material preparation such as making copies or gathering supplies. There are many ways to volunteer at the center. Family members are also encouraged to accompany children on field trips, share special talents and cultural activities, serve on committees and assist with special events.

If you volunteer in the center, please ask your Family Advocate or center staff for a volunteer handbook.

In Kind

In-kind is a word you will hear quite often. In-kind is the time a volunteer donates to the center to match Head Start federal funding. Approximately one-fourth of our budget must consist of donated services or goods. Small children need lots of individual attention so we need volunteers to help every day. We need your help in furnishing the rest of our funding by participating in Head Start. Make sure to fill out an in-kind form whenever you volunteer.

Parent Group Meetings

One of the purposes of parent involvement in Head Start is to develop the best possible child development program. Parent meetings are held once a month. All parents who have children enrolled in the center are members of the Parent Group. Families bring to these meetings a knowledge of their children and their needs which is necessary to assist in program development. Parent meetings are important to the Head Start program for many reasons. Parents may request guest speakers to discuss interesting topics. Staff may present important information or updates for parents to hear or consider. The parent meetings provide the opportunity for the Policy Council representative to give a report, answer questions and hear concerns. In addition to conducting business, parent meetings provide a time for Head Start parents to socialize and "just talk" with each other. Parent meetings are friendly and informal and help to plan a successful Head Start program.

Policy Council

The Head Start Policy Council is made up of elected Head Start parents and elected community representatives from the seven county area. The council must consist of at least 51% parents of Head Start children presently enrolled in the program. Each center has at least one parent representative. Community representatives should have a concern for children of low income families and be able to contribute to the program. The Policy Council operates as a policy-making body to support the purpose and goals of Head Start. Only representatives or their authorized alternate will be considered voting members. Relatives of Head Start staff may not serve on the Policy Council. For further information see the Policy Council By-laws. Parents are an integral part of the Head Start program and are invited to participate in the decision making process. See your center's Family Advocate or speak to the Parent Involvement Specialist for more information on how you can participate.

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