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COSC in Head Start Centers

COSC in Head Start Centers

Promote Learning and Development

For professionals working in Head Start and Early Head Start centers, COS approaches can be used to promote attachment security with children, families, and teachers; and support relationship-based practices among administration and staff while meeting key federal parenting program requirements.

Head Start and Early Head Start programs recognize parents as children’s primary teachers. To support families, these programs are required to offer programming for parents to "participate in a research-based parenting curriculum that builds on parents' knowledge and offers parents the opportunity to practice parenting skills to promote learning and development."1 The Office of Head Start developed a compendium of parenting interventions which includes Circle of Security Parenting, to help Head Start and Early Head Start programs select evidence-based parenting interventions. Using COSP with parents is an important first step in implementing the COS approach in Head Start centers, but the model can also be used to support early childhood educators, paraprofessionals, administrators, and other staff using the COS Classroom model.

Teacher showing a storybook to students all sitting crossed-legged on the floor

Research is finding that both teacher responsiveness and a positive classroom environment are key to greater school readiness for children. COSP helps teachers gain a deeper understanding of young children’s attachment needs, particularly as they relate to learning environments. Furthermore, early childhood education centers can deepen their implementation of COS in the classroom with a practice-based coaching model that aligns with specific Early Head Start and Head Start classroom social-emotional outcomes and standards.

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee passed a bill to increase funding in fiscal year 2020 for Head Start and Early Head Start programs to support children and families experiencing trauma.

COS interventions are trauma-sensitive and can play an integral part in helping your Head Start and Early Head Start center create trauma-informed care for young children, families, and Head Start workforce.

Head Start and Early Head Start programs may be interested in using COS approaches to promote resiliency for children, families, and staff within a trauma-informed care model in some of the following ways:

  • To support children and families experiencing trauma by strengthening parent-child relationships as a parenting curriculum, and building resilience for young children as a mental health intervention
  • To strengthen student-teacher relationships as a professional development model
  • As a practice-based coaching model to increase safe, nurturing, and committed relationships in learning environments
  • With reflective consultation to staff to reduce secondary traumatic stress
  • To foster collegial support among teachers, staff, and administration to reduce burnout and turnover
  • To strengthen collaboration between families and teachers with a shared understanding of young children's relational needs

Please contact info[at]circleofsecurityinternational[dot]com if you would like more information on how COS approaches may be used in your Head Start center to help foster strong parent-child relationships and strong relationships among staff, children, and families.

1 U.S. Department of Health and Human services, Administration for Children & Families, Federal requirement 1302.51 Parent activities to promote child learning and development, Retrieved from