ERIC Number: ED453971
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Celebrating Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Head Start.
Joseph, Gail E.; Cohen, Rachel Chazan
Noting that the dramatic demographic changes in the United States in the last 30 years require that Head Start programs learn how to access new populations, encourage their participation, and tailor programs to meet their unique needs, this study was commissioned to better understand the diversity in language and culture of the Head Start population. The study's objectives were to describe the Head Start population, describe the services developed to address unique needs of children and families from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, and describe barriers faced by programs as they address the needs of an increasingly diverse population. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used, including the annual self-report survey of programs, additional surveys sent to programs nationwide (1,413 returned of 2,000 sent), and site visits to 30 programs, including 58 classrooms in 1995. Among the major findings are the following: (1) over two- thirds of Head Start children are minorities; (2) over 140 languages are spoken by Head Start children, the most common being English (79 percent) and Spanish (18 percent); (3) Head Start programs are modifying their outreach strategies to reach new populations; (4) Head Start staff generally reflect the backgrounds and languages of enrolled children; (5) multicultural materials are plentiful; (6) bilingual and multicultural activities are not often used in daily activities; (7) parents were pleased with multicultural and bilingual services; (8) parent involvement remains important; (9) parent involvement staff encourage and support parents in many ways; and (10) health services were somewhat constrained by limited bilingual services in communities. Since the conclusion of this study, the Head Start Bureau has moved forward to develop new standards to require grantees to better meet unique needs of children and families of bilingual and multicultural backgrounds. (Contains 10 references.) (Author/KB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Administration for Children, Youth, and Families (DHHS), Washington, DC. Office of Research and Evaluation.; Administration for Children, Youth, and Families (DHHS), Washington, DC. Head Start Bureau.