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Mel Gravely

Understanding the Importance of the Nine Head Start Relationship-Based Competencies

head start relationship based competenciesOver the next couple months, we will be doing a blog series on the nine Head Start Relationship-Based Competencies, focusing on a different competency each week.

But before we can dive in on each individual competency, we’d first like to define the overall structure and purpose of the relationship-based competencies, and why they’re important for your Head Start/Early Head Start program.

The Office of Head Start defines relationship-based competencies as the “knowledge, skills, and actions” that are required for staff to successfully work with families in their program. The competencies “represent both research-based and best practices in the early childhood, human services, and social work fields.” (Source: Head Start and Early Head Start Relationship-Based Competencies for Staff and Supervisors Who Work with Families.)

Understanding and properly implementing the relationship-based competencies is a key component to meeting both the Head Start Performance Standards and the PFCE (Parent, Family, and Community Engagement) Framework. When staff are cognizant of the relationship-based competencies throughout their daily work, it provides a helpful reminder that Head Start serves not just the child, but the family and community too.

All staff should be well-versed in the relationship-based competencies and understand how they can help them improve outcomes when working with families and the community – from planning home visits, to forming community partnerships, to developing each and every parent engagement initiative.

The nine relationship-based competencies are:

  • Positive, Goal-Oriented Relationships
  • Self-aware and Culturally Responsive Relationships
  • Family Well-Being and Families as Learners
  • Parent-Child Relationships and Families as Lifelong Educators
  • Family Connections to Peers and Community
  • Family Access to Community Resources
  • Coordinated, Integrated and Comprehensive Services
  • Data Driven Services and Continuous Improvement
  • Foundations for Professional Growth

Our next blog will be about Positive, Goal-Oriented Relationships. In the meantime, if you are interested in comprehensive training on the nine relationship-based competencies and how they relate to the new performance standards, please contact The Gravely Group. Also, be sure to keep an eye on our webinars page for any upcoming webinars on a variety of topics, including the relationship-based competencies.


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