A Second Year in Head Start: Characteristics and Outcomes of Children Who Entered the Program at Age Three

Published: December 15, 2010
Head Start
Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES), 1997-2018 | Learn more about this project

Head Start is a national program that aims to promote school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social, and other services to enrolled children and families. The Head Start program provides grants to local public and private nonprofit and for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families; the Office of Head Start emphasizes a special focus on helping preschoolers develop the reading and mathematics skills they need to be successful in school. The program also seeks to engage parents in their children’s learning and to promote their progress toward their own educational, literacy, and employment goals (Administration for Children and Families [ACF] 2009).

The Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) was first launched in 1997 as a periodic longitudinal study of program performance. Successive nationally representative samples of Head Start children, their families, classrooms, and programs provide descriptive information on the population served; staff qualifications, credentials, beliefs, and opinions; classroom practices and quality measures; and child and family outcomes. FACES includes a battery of direct child assessments across multiple domains. It also comprises interviews with the child’s parents, teachers, and program managers, as well as direct observations of classroom quality. (For background information on FACES 2006, see West et al. 2007, Tarullo et al. 2008, and West et al. 2008.)