The new Head Start Program Performance Standards require home-based programs to implement a developmentally appropriate research-based home visiting and parenting curriculum (starting August 1, 2017).

Home visitors are required to have a home visitor Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential or equivalent by August 1, 2018. (New home-based curriculum performance standards, 1302.35 & 1302.51)


  • Are research-based and evidence-informed.
  • Are online and regularly updated.
  • Are currently used by numerous Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
  • Provide family engagement strategies and involve parents as partners, building on parents’ knowledge and offering the opportunity to practice parenting skills to promote children’s learning and development.

The Parents as Teachers Foundational Training offers 21 hours toward the home visitor Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential, and Foundational 2 Training offers 14 hours. Both trainings are approved by The Council for Professional Development.

For more information please email us at or call us at (314) 432-4330.

Parents as Teachers and Head Start: Impacting Children and Families Through Partnership

Parents as Teachers has a long and treasured history with Head Start. A significant number of Head Start and especially Early Head Start grantees utilize the Parents as Teachers research-based and evidence-informed curriculum and approach, and some choose to implement the Parents as Teachers model along with the Early Head Start model. The Parents as Teachers relationship-based and parenting-focused approach to home visiting helps achieve Head Start outcomes and prepares staff to promote school readiness and parent engagement, hallmarks of Head Start and Early Head Start. The curriculum features family-friendly activities and resources that engage families in children’s learning and development with three key areas of emphasis: parent-child interaction, development-centered parenting, and family well-being.

How else does Parents as Teachers support Head Start goals and standards?

  • Support for family goal setting consistent with Early Head Start Performance Standard § 1304.40(a).
  • Evidence-based practices that support parents’ ability to make a positive impact on their child’s development.
  • An approach that engages families in ongoing child assessment consistent with Performance Standard § 1307.3 b (2).
  • The Head Start Kindergarten Readiness framework is embedded in the Parents as Teachers Foundational Curriculum. The Parents as Teachers Logic Model depicts the way in which the four component model (personal visits, group meetings, developmental and health screenings, and resource referrals) is designed to effect positive changes in children’s cognitive, social/emotional development, language and literacy, and physical and motor development, as well as non-cognitive (approaches to learning) skills: the five domains of school readiness identified by the National Education Goals Panel that are the foundation of the Child Development and Early Learning Framework.
  • Parents as Teachers also developed a “Child Development and Family Engagement Alignment” handbook which provides guidance on using Parents as Teachers Milestones to align with the Office of Head Start (OHS) Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework (PFCE). The Handbook underscores the connections among the five essential domains of the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework, the Parents as Teachers Foundational curriculum, and the Teaching Strategies GOLD assessment tool. There is also a survey for programs that utilize the OHS Parent, Family and Community Engagement framework to build relationships with families. Each item in the survey aligns with one of the seven family engagement outcomes specified in the PFCE framework.

How else is Parents as Teachers and Head Start a good fit?

  • Here are some great examples of the fit between Parents as Teachers and Early Head Start and how this partnership supports school readiness.
  • There are also several compelling examples of Parents as Teachers being incorporated into Indian Head Start.
  • Parents as Teachers even made a special White House commitment supporting recipients of the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships grants.

What is the Head Start Community saying about Parents as Teachers?

“Activities are closely aligned with EHS School Readiness Goals,” says Rachel Rogers of the Kentucky River Foothills Early Head Start program, a Parents as Teachers affiliate. “Family Goal setting with PAT is easier…due to many tools it offers to help families visualize their goals. It helps organize your data and lesson plans and has many tools to encourage family engagement. PAT helps ensure that your program meets the requirements for EHS/HS. The more we use it, the more we love it.”

“I think what I like most about the Foundational Curriculum is that it has really done an excellent job of moving away from the old model of ‘teacher as expert’ toward a much more empowering ‘parent as expert’ approach,” says Michelle Harvey of the Mount Hood Community College Early Head Start program in Oregon. “It really helps me be reflective in my work with children and families and does an excellent job supporting parallel process with all of us learning and wondering together.”

What’s next?

If you are interested in learning more about the Parents as Teachers and Head Start connection, or about how to take the next steps in partnering with Parents as Teachers to support your program, please contact us.

All Parents as Teachers National Center staff may be reached by email by using their First and Last names as represented in the list below in this format:

Linda Clark    
ID, MT, OR, WA    
(360) 481-1572

Kathy Hall    
IA, IL, MO, WI        
(314) 432-4330 Ext. 1271

Phyllis McLafferty    
AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, IN, ME, MN, NE, NM, NV, RI, VA, WV        
(314) 432-4330 Ext. 1209

Jessica Nugent
(NE TA Hub contract)    
DC, MA, NJ, NY    
(732) 246-8060 Ext. 106

Christy Roberts    
AL, GA, KS, LA, MD, MI, MS, NH, OH, OK, PA, SC, TX, VT        
(314) 432-4330 Ext. 1225

Robin Roberts    
FL, KY, NC, TN, International        
(919) 880-7358

Ann Young    
MO (MO TA Project)        
(314) 432-4330 Ext. 1211

Angela Ward    
AZ, UT, WY        
(801) 888-2203

Willeen Whipple    
AK, HI, ND, SD, Tribal Affiliates & Tribal MIECHV        
(314) 432-4330 Ext. 1231

Alignment with Early Head Start

The Child Development and Family Engagement Alignment resource handbook illustrates the connection between the Foundational Curriculum/Parents as Teachers Approach and Office of Head Start requirements, including alignment with the five Head Start essential domains, as well as alignment with the Office of Head Start's Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework.

The handbook can also be beneficial to states seeking to understand PAT's alignment with early learning standards or to any program interested in assessing child progress and family engagement for planning services and for showing improvement in outcomes as required by funders.

View the Child Development and Family Engagement Alignment resource handbook.