Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Children’s Social and Emotional Skills: Select Findings from the MSHS Study 2017

Publication Date: March 9, 2020
This is the report cover for the MSHS Social and Emotional Skills Report

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  • Published: 2020

Introduction

Research Questions

  1. What are the social and emotional skills of MSHS infants, toddlers, and preschoolers?
  2. How can MSHS programs support children’s social and emotional skills?

Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs provide child development, family support, and family engagement services to young children and their migrant and seasonal farmworker families. MSHS programs are designed to meet the unique needs of migrant and seasonally working families.  MSHS programs usually provide bilingual services and sometimes operate in non-standard hours or in varying locations throughout the agricultural season.

This brief describes the social and emotional skills of children served by Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs using data from the MSHS Study 2017.

Purpose

This brief describes the social and emotional skills of children served by Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs.

Key Findings and Highlights

  • Most (84%) MSHS teachers report that at least 75% of the children (infants, toddlers, and preschoolers) in their class are meeting developmental expectations for socio-emotional skills.
  • Based on parent report, nearly two-thirds (62%) of MSHS preschoolers share toys and other belongings with other children often or very often.
  • Based on parent report, more than three-quarters (80%) of MSHS preschoolers make friends easily often or very often.
  • Nearly all (91%) of MSHS teachers of toddlers and preschoolers report that the children in their class work on social-emotional skills daily.
  • About half of MSHS teachers (48%) and assistant teachers (55%) report that additional training in behavior class management would help them in their teaching.

Methods

The Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) Study 2017 provides a national picture of MSHS programs, centers, families, and children. The MSHS Study was designed through extensive engagement and input from the MSHS community to better understand:

  • characteristics of MSHS programs, centers, staff, families, and children;
  • services that MSHS provides;
  • instructional practices in MSHS classrooms; and
  • MSHS supports for child, parent, and family well-being.

This brief highlights selected MSHS Study findings collected from surveys of teachers, surveys of assistant teachers, interviews with parents, and trained assessor ratings of children. The MSHS Study was conducted by Abt Associates in partnership with Catholic University of America and Westat. For additional information visit: /opre/research/project/migrant-and-seasonal-he...

Recommendations

The information presented in this brief may help MSHS programs better tailor services to their children and inform professional development and training for teachers. Understanding the social and emotional skills of children participating in MSHS may inform program decisions related to child needs, strengths, and supports. This information may be important for MSHS programs to consider as they identify the best ways to serve their communities.

Citation

Walker, A & Malin, J. (2020). Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Children’s Social and Emotional Skills, OPRE Report #2020-16, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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