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Head Start Code of Ethics


Kentucky River Foothills Head Start strives to provide a quality child development program. This agency recognizes that many daily decisions of those who work with young children are of a moral and ethical nature. The Kentucky River Foothills Head Start Code of Ethics offers guidelines for responsible behavior and sets forth a common basis for resolving the principal ethical dilemmas encountered in early childhood education.


Kentucky River Foothills Head Start appreciates childhood as a unique and valuable stage of life. Our work with children is based on knowledge of child development and supports individual learning in an environment that nurtures cognitive, social, physical, and emotional development. We value the many individual differences and provide opportunities for all children to benefit fully from all Head Start experiences.

Recognizing that the family is the principal influence on a child's education and general well being, we believe it is essential that they be involved in all aspects of their child's learning experiences, health services, and nutritional development. Because of this importance and family role, we support and encourage their benefiting from and contributing to Head Start.

Ethical Responsibilities to Children:

• Recognize and respect the uniqueness and the potential of each child.
• Provide safe, healthy, and nurturing settings for children.
• Create and maintain settings that foster children's social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.
• Support the right of children with special needs to participate, consistent with their ability, in Head Start.
• Provide adequate protection for children.
• Keep in confidence information about children and their families.
• Be aware of the vulnerability of children.
• Promote self esteem.

Ethical Responsibilities to Families:

• Develop relationships of trust with the families.
• Acknowledge and build upon strengths of families.
• Respect each family's culture, customs, and beliefs.
• Share information about each child's progress with their parent(s).
• Help family members improve their understanding of their children and enhance their skill as parents.
• Provide families with opportunities to interact with center staff and other families.
• Help families understand and appreciate the developmentally appropriate experiences in Head Start.

Ethical Responsibilities of Staff:

• Establish and maintain relationships of trust and cooperation with staff.
• Share resources and information.
• Support staff in meeting their professional needs and in their professional development.
• Recognize professional achievement.
• Encourage and support staff that are involved in cross training.
• Assist the program in providing the highest quality of service.
• Maintain loyalty to the program and uphold its reputation.
• Shall not knowingly make false statements about staff.
• Promote policies and working conditions that foster competence, well-being and self-esteem in staff members.
• Create a setting of trust and honesty that will enable staff to speak and act in the best interests of children, families, and the Head Start Program.
• Keep current in job role through staff development.
• Shall not use coercive means or give special treatment in order to
• influence management decisions.
• Maintain a professional approach to personal relationships with families.

Ethical Responsibilities to Community and Society:

• Provide programs that meet the need of the community.
• Promote cooperation among agencies and professions concerned with the welfare of young children, their families,
• and staff.
• Strive, through education, toward an environmentally safe world.
• Strive, through education, toward a society in which all young children have access to quality programs.
• Shall not knowingly misrepresent facts concerning Head Start issues.
• Promote knowledge and understanding of young children and their needs.
• Support or oppose policies and laws that affect the well-being of children and families.
• Further the professional development of the field of early childhood education.

(The National Association for the Education of Young Children Code of Ethical Conduct, 1989, and the Code of Ethics for Kentucky School Personnel were used in the development of this Code of Ethics.)