“The Opportunity to Get Ready”: Early Head Start Program Innovation

Anita S. Charles, Mary Anne Peabody


This article describes a qualitative study within an urban Northeast Early Head Start program. This study explores the experiences of various stakeholders involved in the program designed to reach multiply vulnerable families who were not eligible for Early Head Start due to complex life experiences. The goal of this research was to deepen the knowledge base regarding the benefits and challenges of this approach by learning from parents and the practicing professionals' perspectives. Findings are discussed in terms of literature relevant to ecological theory, family resilience, and coping with stressors with an emphasis on supporting staff who in turn support both young children's school readiness and families in a collaborative process. This article also identifies next steps useful to professionals and scholars interested in initiating or studying this approach to expand Early Head Start to the most vulnerable infant, toddlers and their families within early childhood education programs.


Early Childhood Education; Early Head Start; Families in Poverty

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This journal is a publication of the NHSA and the CEME at UNC Charlotte.