The mission of the Delaware Head Start Association, Inc., is to promote and support – through advocacy, education, and collaboration – Head Start/ Early Head Start / Early Childhood Assistance Programs’ high quality services to vulnerable children and their families.
Our vision is that all children and families in Delaware will benefit from early care and education programs that are grounded in and embody the philosophy, principles and values of Head Start and Early Head Start.
Our Guiding Principles and Values
Each child is unique and can succeed.
- Children have diverse strengths rooted in their families’ cultures, backgrounds, languages and beliefs.
- Learning occurs within the context of relationships. Responsive and supportive interactions with other children and adults are essential to a child’s learning.
- Children learn best when their physical and emotional needs are met.
- An emphasis on promoting healthy development should include efforts to both prevent, detect and address developmental concerns at the earliest possible time.
- Every child has the right to maintain his or her own identity while acquiring the skills required to function in a diverse society.
Families are a child’s first and most important caregivers, teachers and advocates.
- Families are respected and supported as the primary influence in their child’s early learning and education.
- Families know their own strengths and needs and are the best advocates for their child(ren).
- Supporting families’ well-being leads to better outcomes for children.
The well-being of children is linked to the well-being of all those who work in early care and education.
- The essential role of the early learning workforce warrants respect, recognition, and appropriate compensation.
- A strong workforce includes diverse individuals in various roles who are provided with on-going opportunities for personal and professional development.
- Culturally relevant and responsive programming requires a workforce who both reflect and respect the communities and families who are served.
Early childhood education is a public good and requires our collective commitment and investment.
- We are all called to be advocates for children and their families.
- Investment in early care and education leads to positive outcomes in future educational performance, earning power and health.
- Investment in early care and education includes staff compensation appropriate to one’s qualifications, skills, experience and level of education.
- Effective collaboration with local community agencies and service providers maximizes resources available to families with young children.
High quality programs demonstrate a commitment to effective practice and continuous learning.
- Effective programming builds on a child’s intrinsic strengths and engages the child in developmentally appropriate instruction and opportunities for exploration and meaningful play.
- High quality programming includes families as partners in program planning and delivery.
- Early childhood programs have the responsibility to regularly assess their own strengths and opportunities for growth and develop plans to improve their practice.