What is Head Start
Head Start is a federally funded child development program providing services to three – to – five year old children of low income families. Enrollment priority is given to children from families meeting the federal poverty guidelines. Head Start actively recruits and enrolls children with disabilities and is committed to providing individualized services for the total inclusion of children with professionally diagnosed disabilities. Head Start staff in partnership with parents, local agencies, and other community resource providers offer comprehensive services in the Division of Early Childhood Development and Health Services, and the Division of Family and Community Partnerships. The following component services are provided:
Head Start has provided leadership to improve early childhood education. The Head Start concept of early childhood education is a comprehensive program designed to meet the emotional, social, health, nutritional , and psychological needs of children from low income families. Children from such home environments often have health problems and a lack of self confidence that would put them at a disadvantage in public school. Head Start provides these children with the opportunity to enter public school with a “head start” willing and able to learn. Head Start provides the necessary “bridge of transition” to public school.
The Education Component is designed to provide a learning environment to enhance social, physical, intellectual, and emotional development that is consistent with the child’s age. An individualized approach is taken toward assessing children’s needs and providing a daily lesson plans that respond to those needs. This approach is respectful of our multi-cultural heritage. Parents are considered partners in their child Head Start experience and are encouraged to be an integral part of their child’s education.
Head Start provides a comprehensive health program to promote preventative health services and early intervention. Head Start families are provided with information to link them with an on-going health care system. Health services provided to Head Start children include medical and dental exams and follow-up treatment as needed.
Mental health and psychological services are provided to Head Start children that encourage healthy social and emotion development. Mental health professionals provide on-site observations of classroom activities and consultation with both staff and parents. Mental Health training is provided at pre-service and in-service conferences to parents and staff.
The Head Start program participated in the USDA Child Nutrition Program administered by the Alabama State Department of Education. A nutritious breakfast, lunch, and snack is provided to every Head Start child. Nutrition training is provided in the classroom and at parent meetings.
Social Services recruits and enrolls children at each Head Start Center. Assistance is provided to families based on individual family needs assessments. Families are encouraged to set goals and enter into a partnerships with Head Start in striving toward their accomplishments. Families are assisted in accessing available community resources, emergency assistance, and crisis intervention.
Parent involvement is an essential part of every Head Start program in providing assistance in program planning, classroom activities, committee activities, and program governance through Policy Council activities. Parents are encouraged to become involved in every part of Head Start. Parents are given the opportunity to participate in training, workshops, and attend conferences. Many parents have later become employees of the Head Start Program.
All children are screened for physical disabilities and developmental delays. Pursuant to a professional diagnosis of disability, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is developed and implemented in daily lesson plans and activities. Ongoing services are provided to meet the child’s special needs.
- Head Start Program General Information
- 2016-2017 Head Start Annual Report
- Community Assessment
- Administration on Children, Youth and Families Commissioner’s Office of Research and Evaluation
- Head Start Bureau
- Head Start Information and Publication Center
- National Head Start Association
- Western Kentucky University – Training and Technical Assistance Serviceshttp://orgs.wku.edu/ttas/