Leading the Way: Characteristics and Early Experience of Selected Early Head Start Programs. Executive Summary Volumes I, II, and III

Published: December 15, 2000
Early Head Start
Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project (EHSRE), 1996-2010 | Learn more about this project
EHSRE Study Reports

Programs are dynamic, and like children and families, they grow and change. By fall 1997, after slightly more than a year of operation as new Early Head Start programs, the 17 programs participating in the National Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project had faced many challenges and had achieved important early successes. They were leading the way for the hundreds of new Early Head Start programs that are following in their footsteps and sharing the lessons learned through partnership with researchers that will enhance the value of the evaluation research for continuous program improvement.

This is the first major report on the implementation of the 17 programs participating in the National Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project. It focuses on the early implementation experiences that program staff reported in fall 1997 and tells the story of programs that helped launch the first nationwide program for low-income families with infants and toddlers. The second report examines program implementation in fall 1999, when the programs were more mature, and focuses on pathways to achieving high-quality services.

This first report is organized in three volumes. Volume I provides a cross-site perspective on the characteristics and early implementation experiences of the 17 research programs. It examines similarities and differences across programs in the characteristics of the families they serve, their goals and expected outcomes, and the services they offered, and it summarizes the early challenges and successes the programs experienced. Volume II includes an in-depth profile of each of the 17 programs. Volume III analyzes the levels of implementation and child care quality achieved in the early stages of the programs’ evolution in terms of the revised Head Start Program Performance Standards.