HCDE Head Start provides parent back-to-school checklist

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July 28, 2022 by HCDE-Texas

Harris County Department of Education’s (HCDE) Head Start division will welcome Early Head Start and Head Start students back to campuses on August 8. To ensure a successful transition from summer fun to the classroom, Head Start highlights some helpful reminders from the Head Start Parent Handbook, which can be downloaded in English and Spanish

Students smiles at the Humble Head Start Center, October 10, 2018.

Read and sign the Family Commitment to School Readiness Agreement 

HCDE Early Head Start and Head Start lives by its mission “to improve school readiness for children, families and the community.” As a premier early childhood program, Head Start is dedicated to enriching the lives of the children and families who join its program. In the spirit of partnership and success, Head Start asks that parents join our commitment to achieving school readiness for their children and families. You can find the School Readiness Agreement on page five of the Parent Handbook. 

Keep campus information on-hand 

Whether you’re looking for a simple answer to a question about your child’s homework or contacting your child’s campus in the case of an emergency, having campus and classroom information on-hand is helpful. Before the year starts, write down or type out the following information somewhere that you can access it quickly and easily. 

  • Campus name 
  • Campus phone number 
  • Campus manager’s name 
  • Assistant Campus manager’s name 
  • Family services provider’s name 
  • Your child’s teacher’s name 
  • Your child’s teaching assistant’s name 
Harris County Department of Education superintendent James Colbert reads to students at the Humble Head Start Center as part of the SuperMENtor program, October 10, 2018.

Update your child’s emergency contact information 

Similarly, having your child’s emergency contact information on file is equally important for your child’s Early Head Start or Head Start campus to assist you in meeting your child’s needs. If any of the following items change, contact your campus manager or family services provider to update your child’s information. 

  • Name 
  • Address 
  • Phone number 
  • Emergency contact person and their phone number  
  • Authorized person and their phone number 

Get Routine-Ready 

Getting a good night’s sleep is important at any time of the year, but it’s especially critical when making the transition from summer fun to structured learning. 

  • Establish a reasonable bedtime based on your child’s needs. Some children who require more sleep might need to hit the hay earlier than others. 
  • Avoid any foods high in sugar in the late afternoon and evening. 
  • Allow plenty of device-free time to wind down before bed. Turn off televisions, computers, tablets, or other devices at least an hour before bedtime so your children can prepare to fall asleep. Try taking a bath or reading a story to help children fall asleep more easily. 
Students participate in activities at the Baytown Early Head Start Center, April 18, 2019.

Immunizations 

To prevent the spread of dangerous and deadly diseases, all students are required to have current immunizations throughout their participation in the Early Head Start/Head Start program. Your child’s immunization record will be reviewed upon admission into the program. Students must receive all vaccinations in accordance with the Recommended Immunization Schedule by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Special healthcare needs and medication 

Students with chronic or recurring health conditions must have an Individual Care Plan (ICP) completed by a physician. In addition to the ICP, students with asthma must also have an Asthma Action Plan (AAP) completed by a physician. Reach out to your family services provider if you have questions about this documentation. These documents must be completed in their entirety and returned to your campus’ family service provider prior to enrollment into the Early Head Start/Head Start program or as the healthcare needs arise. 

Items needed for nap/rest time 

Sometimes, little brains need a rest. Early Head Start and Head Start students have a rest or nap time every day to allow for more productive learning in the morning and afternoon. Please be sure that your child has the following: 

  • A sheet, blanket or 2 beach towels at the school so that he or she can rest comfortably on his/her mat 
  • NOTE: Early Head Start infants cannot be covered with anything until they can walk 
Students at Harris County Department of Education Barrett Station Head Start create holiday cards in partnership with TRIOSE, Inc for patients at Texas Children’s Hospital, November 17, 2020.

Make the most of parent-teacher interactions 

A key component of the Early Head Start and Head Start program is the ongoing communication and relationship between Early Head Start/Head Start staff and you. Two teacher home visits and two parent teacher conferences are scheduled to allow time for you and the teachers to discuss the progress of your child. During this time, you and the teachers will: 

  • Get to know each other and ask questions 
  • Share information and concerns 
  • Create goals and plans 
  • Report student progress 
  • Discuss volunteer activities 
  • Plan transition activities, which are used to help your child move with ease from Early Head Start to Head Start, and Head Start to Kindergarten 

Read the Parent Handbook and sign the consent form 

Once you’ve read the Parent Handbook in its entirety, sign the consent form located on the last page. Bring both the handbook and the consent form with you to Parent Orientation where members of the campus-based management team will review the contents with you and other parents. 

To learn more about HCDE Head Start and how to enroll, visit hcde-texas.org/head-start

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