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Relationships between families and Head Start staff: Associations with children’s academic outcomes through home involvement and approaches to learning


Family-program partnerships in early care and education have the potential to influence young children’s development through multiple pathways. Guided by the Head Start (HS) Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) framework, the current study uses data from the 2014 HS Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) to examine the direct, and indirect, through families’ home involvement and young children’s approaches to learning, associations between family-staff relationships and preschool children’s receptive vocabulary and early math skills. Research Findings: Drawing on data collected from families, teachers, and direct assessments with children, and controlling for multiple child, family, and teacher factors, we found that strong family-family services staff partnerships were directly, and indirectly, through higher family-home involvement, associated with children’s higher receptive vocabulary skills. In addition, we found that stronger family-teacher relationships were associated with children’s stronger approaches to learning, which in turn, were associated with children’s higher receptive vocabulary and early math skills. Practice or Policy: Our findings help substantiate and expand on the HS PFCE framework and help highlight the potential importance of family service staff in HS programs. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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