The Early Head Start Program offers a special Home-Based Program for pregnant women and children ages’ birth to three. The Early Head Start Home-Based Program is designed to help parents work and learn with their children all from the comforts of their home.
Home visitors will become well acquainted with a family, work with them in a relaxed setting, and provide an individualized program that meets their particular needs. This program provides parents with information on child development from birth to age three and suggests learning opportunities that encourage language and intellectual growth, physical and social skills.
Evaluation results indicate that the Home-Based Program is effective for both parents and children. In fact, home-based programs reflect essentially the same success as the more traditional center-based Early Head Start program. We believe you will find that there are many unique advantages to a home-based program.
The home-based program offers periodic screening of overall development, language, hearing, and vision. The goal is to provide early detection of potential problems to prevent difficulties later in school.
The Creative Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers provides a framework for planning a developmentally appropriate program recognizing that relationships are the focus for curriculum. This provides guidance for planning based upon routines and structured activities. The structured activities are defined within the creation of a rich environment for infants and toddlers to explore in the five critical domains which include:
•Social and Emotional Development,
•Language Development and Literacy,
•Approaches Toward Learning,
•Cognition and General Knowledge, and
•Physical Well-Being and Motor Development.
Individualized Instruction-Serving each child and family at home enhances individualization possibilities. The home visitor individualizes in terms of the goals and objectives set for the child and family, and in terms of the one-to-one attention given during home visits.
Learning Occurs in a Natural Environment – The home offers an appropriate setting for learning basic skills such as dressing, feeding, and communicating. This is the environment where the child’s basic needs must be met. Therefore, a program that emphasizes the parent’s role as the teacher assists the parent to meet these needs and use all aspects of the home environment for the child’s benefit.
Working with the child and parent at home makes it possible to observe and enhance the parent-child interaction. The home visitor is in a good position to help the parents become effective teachers and managers of their child’s behavior. Teaching and child management techniques learned by the parents to use with the enrolled child can be applied to other children in the family.
This program is designed for parents and home visitors to meet for weekly ninety-minute periods in the family’s home. In this parent-focused program, the parent learns to teach the child whenever and wherever there is an opportunity. Demonstrating skills and activities to the parent for use in daily activities and interactions. Individualized home visits are conducted by parent educators, trained in child development. The visits help parents understand what to expect in each stage of their child’s development, and offer practical tips on ways to encourage learning, manage challenging behavior, and promote strong parent-child relationships.
Home-based programs have the advantage of total family involvement. Parents, siblings, and other household members can all be involved in the program. Providing family members with successful, growth-enhancing experiences can create a healthier emotional climate for the whole family.
Parents who have learned to nurture their child successfully at home are more likely to continue working with their child once she/he enters the school system. Parents who are confident teachers of their own children will be more than likely to participate actively in school programs. Home-based service is a good way to give parents confidence in their teaching and parenting abilities.
Aside from the weekly visits, the parents are involved in twice-a-month group socializations. These socializations offer the families’ time to interact and learn with other families in a social setting. Parents can get together to gain new insights and to share their experiences, common concerns and successes. Group socialization also provides families the opportunity to participate in parent-child activities.
The Early Head Start Home-Based Program is an early childhood parent education and family support program that is designed to empower all parents to give their child the best possible start in life.