What is Head Start?
Head Start is a federally-funded child development/preschool program serving low-income children and families. Nearly one million American children are currently enrolled in Head Start programs.
Why should I consider a Head Start Program?
The Head Start Impact Study was conducted in 2006 looking at 1,600 student records of children in Muskegon and Oceana counties. The research showed that on third grade MEAP scores former Head Start children scored equal to all other children in reading and slightly lower on math skills. Given that there exists an “achievement gap” nationally among children of lower economic means versus children of higher incomes, these results show that Head Start works in preparing children for successful school years.
What happens in a Head Start Classroom?
Based on research and decades of experiences, Head Start activities focus on eight domains: Language Development, Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Creative Arts, Social & Emotional Development, and Physical Health & Development. All Head Start classrooms use Creative Curriculum for Preschool, a scientifically-based curriculum, along with an internet-based child assessment system to measure progress and make program improvements. In addition to focusing efforts on these domains, the Head Start program dedicates significant efforts on involving parents in activities including multiple home visits and parent-teacher conferences. Nutrition, mental health, health care and dental visits are also part of the program.
What are the goal of Head Start?
- Early learning:Children’s readiness for school and beyond is fostered through individualized learning experiences. Through relationships with adults, play, and planned and spontaneous instruction, children grow in many aspects of development. Children progress in social skills and emotional well-being, along with language and literacy learning, and concept development
- Health:Each child’s perceptual, motor, and physical development is supported to permit them to fully explore and function in their environment. All children receive health and development screenings, nutritious meals, oral health and mental health support. Programs connect families with medical, dental, and mental health services to ensure that children are receiving the services they need.
- Family well-being:Parents and families are supported in achieving their own goals, such as housing stability, continued education, and financial security. Programs support and strengthen parent-child relationships and engage families around children’s learning and development.