ERSEA Cheat Sheet: Smoothing the Enrollment Process
Do you find that enrolling a child in Head Start takes a lot of work? Here are some ways that you can make the process smoother in you program.
Have a good waiting list
All hands on deck
Staff should be able to fill in for each other and help out with all parts of enrollment. For example, if health staff is out, someone should know how to get the health paperwork from a new child.
Have translators available
Be sure to have the contact information for a translator if necessary.
Welcome parents and children
Show parents a quick tour, welcome them, make them feel comfortable. Offer them some refreshments and perhaps a light snack.
Have some toys handy for child who enrolls while the family fills out the paperwork. Stickers or crayons can also be helpful.
Be ready to discuss immunizations
Have a computer available so you can easily check a child’s immunization records.
Communication and collaboration with local doctors, Department of Health, and health centers is important so you can quickly refer and help parents. This way they get their children immunized and up to date. Have you ever had parent who refuses to immunize? What do you do?
You may want some charts on your wall with immunization schedule for quick and handy references.
Have plenty of information available
Additional brochures explaining Head Start programs and other resources for parents to peruse should be displayed and easily accessible for new enrollees. Helpful local programs including insurance, WIC, Child Care Resource Center should also be visible and discussed.
Encourage parents to volunteer
Remember to tell parents, while volunteering is strongly recommended and very beneficial, it is voluntary! A child’s acceptance is not dependent on it. At this point you can encourage volunteering.