top of page

Parent Handbook

Section 6 - Class Time, Home Visits and Play Groups

Class Ratios


Preschool classrooms have 2 staff to 17 children or less. Toddler classrooms have 2 staff to 8 children.  A supervisor, family advocate, bus driver, and aide may also assist in the classroom when available. Children will not be left alone while at the center. During home visits, staff members are not to be left alone with children.




Our staff use Creative Curriculum for our general instruction and several special programs including Conscious Discipline, I AM Moving, I AM Learning, Eat, Play, Grow, and Brush. Lesson plans are displayed in the classroom.


Diapering and Potty Training


Children in diapers or toilet training will be checked every two hours and changed as needed. Children should be sent to class in clean, dry diapers/pull ups. Families should send in extra clothing in case of an accident.


Family Style Meals


Mealtime for the preschooler is a time for fun, discovery, learning, and growing.  Head Start will serve meals family-style.  Children are encouraged to use eating utensils, pour from pitchers, and clean-up their own place setting.


Healthy Meals

All meals and snacks are approved by a registered dietician and meet or exceed USDA (CACFP) guidelines for 2-5 year old children.


Special Needs / Care Plans

Families should tell staff, in writing, of their child’s special dietary needs, including food restrictions due to religious beliefs. Head Start requires a statement from a physician if a child has food allergies, a modified diet and/or needs nutritional supplements.  In addition, the family will be required to complete a care plan with site staff.




The main source of food funding for Ashtabula County Head Start`s licensed centers is provided by Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

Dental Health


Children will learn about taking care of their teeth and will brush their teeth in class. Every 3 months, each child will be given a new toothbrush. 


Circle Time


During circle time, teachers are able to do “large group” lessons. Children may learn days of the week, weather, counting, shapes, colors, new songs, or get to talk about fun topics.




Centers are areas in the classroom that give children the chance to learn and explore. Centers may include blocks, dramatic play (pretend), writing, science, art, or other special areas.


Gross Motor

Gross motor may include playground time (weather and safety permitting), gym time, and/or dance and movement.




Children have time in the afternoon to rest or nap.


No Show – Pick-up


If a child is not picked up at the end of class, staff will contact the family and emergency contacts. If no contact is made within one hour of class ending OR at the time the building is closed (whichever is soonest) the appropriate authorities will be contacted and the family will be responsible for picking their child up at that location.


Home Visit Information




Home based home visits are offered every week for 1.5 hours. The family and home visitor will choose the same time and day every week to meet. 



Home Visits usually take place in a family’s home with the parent or guardian. The family is expected to stay in the room with their child during the home visit. If you are unable to have a home visit in your home or if someone other than the parent needs to meet with the home visitor, please talk to the supervisor. Head Start works with Samaritan House, Homesafe, local libraries, and other safe places to make sure families have a welcoming space to meet with their home visitor.


Planning Home Visits

Children learn through play! Because your home is where your child is most comfortable, we want to use every-day objects to allow your child to explore and have fun with what you already have! Playing with pots and pans, cooking, painting with toilet paper rolls and even sorting laundry can be a new way for your child to learn. The home visitor and family will plan what they will be doing at each home visit.


Staff also use Creative Curriculum to help plan home visits. This is a teaching tool that helps us choose activities, games, and projects that are just right for your child and help them learn.


Play Groups \ Socialization

When and Where


Play Groups for infants and toddlers are 2 hours long and are offered 2 times per month. Play Groups for preschoolers are 2.5 hours long and are offered 2 times per month.


Dates, times, and locations will be shared during home visits. 


Planning Play Groups


Each month families are invited to help plan future Play Groups.  


Interacting with other children is an important part of getting ready for school. Children start to learn to share and problem solve. Families attend with their child to the Play Group so they ‘re able to meet other parents and share their experiences.


During Play Groups, we may read, have a circle time, sing songs, dance, do fun projects, and play with toys. Snacks are provided.

Art Class
bottom of page