The unique characteristics of migrant and seasonal families are important concerns for the Office of Head Start. This study was designed to ascertain the state of research knowledge about Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs, assess the feasibility of a range of measures and research methods, and select and pilot test methods, instruments, and procedures appropriate for this population. The Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Research Development Design Project was the result of the collaboration between MSHS programs and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to determine viable methods for assessing the unique characteristics of programs while also examining common programmatic components.
The goals of the study were as follows:
- To “try out” methods and measures of key constructs for measuring both program implementation and child/family outcomes to determine whether methods and measures currently used in mainstream Head Start programs are feasible, and to identify potential new measurement approaches that may be warranted, particularly those focusing on child multilingualism and family environment;
- To identify the feasibility of tracking a sample of migrant families across sites, determining where they went, the programs in which they participated, and the degree to which continuity of services occurred within and between streams; and
- To develop methods to describe the issues and challenges faced by migrant and seasonal farmworker families and how MSHS programs operate to serve their unique needs.