The Challenge

How best to communicate the unique, impactful value of Head Start to diverse audiences, and effectively dispel common misperceptions.

The Goal

Help Head Start advocates have better, more effective conversations about our mission with the public, whether it’s a skeptic, a policymaker, or a potential Head Start parent.

The Response

NHSA brought together Head Start stakeholders to create a new resource with recommendations on language that resonates with the broadest possible audience.

Communicate More Effectively by Using the Head Start Language Playbook

Part of NHSA’s mission is to coalesce the Head Start community to raise public awareness and understanding about the Head Start Advantage. That’s why NHSA embarked on the Language Playbook project. Officially called, “Staying Strong, Standing United: Strengthening Every Head Start Community,” the ultimate goal of this campaign is to build public understanding of Head Start’s effectiveness in supporting America’s most vulnerable children and families.

NHSA Launches New Tool to Build Head Start Awareness

Created with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Language Playbook is intended to help you and other Head Start advocates have better, more effective conversations about Head Start’s mission with the public. Whether you’re talking with a member of Congress, a school superintendent, or a parent, we hope the tips in this Playbook help you better communicate the power of Head Start with them.


Digital Playbook - English

Explore the online platform

Digital Playbook - En Espanol

El Head Start El Guia de Lenguaje



What’s next?

NHSA will continue to roll out new tools and trainings to help you make the most of this new guide. We will also continue to offer in-person, interactive sessions at NHSA conferences highlighting real-world examples of how to use this new tool to solve everyday challenges and improve your program’s outreach to parents, partners, and policymakers.

These hands-on workshops offer opportunities to practice using the new language in real-life situations, and equip you with the knowledge you need to teach others in the Head Start community how to use the new language.

Interested in having an NHSA communications specialist create a virtual or in-person training tailored for the specific needs of your staff or association? Contact NHSA’s Director of Public Affairs Robin Winchell at for more information!

Download the Language Playbook

Explore the easy-to-read PDF and e-book versions of the Playbook. These resources are currently only available in English.