Head Start Program

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

The Education Component strives for the creation of secure, friendly learning environments for children enrolled in the Head Start/Early Head Start Program. Children are explorers, eager to move about and playfully interact with their surroundings. They learn best by manipulating and investigating the world around them through the use of their five senses.

Head Start's educational program is designed to meet each child's individual needs. It also aims to meet the need of the community served and its ethnic and cultural characteristics. If programs have a majority of bilingual children, for example, at least on teacher or aide must speak their native language.

 

Exposure to experiences with a wide variety of physical, cognitive, social and emotional concepts will provide the necessary skills for success in life. Building kindergarten readiness in children is emphasized, rather than rote teaching of letters and numbers. Our ultimate goal is that children leave Head Start with positive learning experiences and high self-esteem.

Head Start Authorization "Improving Head Start for School Readiness" Act
Preparing Children for Kindergarten

The Head Start approach to school readiness means that children are ready for school (Ready Children); families are ready to support their children's learning (Ready Families) and schools are ready for the children at kindergarten entry (Ready Schools/Community.

The process of transitioning children to kindergarten is facilitated in the following ways:
  • Collaboration with Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to coordinate and conduct transition events for parents and children.

  • Program participation in the county-wide transition efforts to ensure smooth transition for children and families

  • Kinder-bound children are registered in the county-wide Transition Skills Summary System (TSS). Teachers assess children’s school readiness level using the TSS.

  • Parents attend the 16 for Success Tool Kit training to extend and further their knowledge on what skills are needed for their children before attend kindergarten

  • Parents receive TSS readiness reports and activities to work with their children during summer months

  • Transition Skills Summary for each child is sent to their respective kindergarten teacher before entering school

  • School readiness and transition literatures is distributed to parents at all points during the school year

  • Key information (screening and assessment data) is provided to parents to share with their child’s kindergarten teacher

A total of 631 children transitioned to kindergarten at the close of the 2016-2017 Head Start program year. To prepare children, families, schools and community for transition, a variety of activities were conducted. Some examples of activities are:

  • Parent education programming were conducted for parents on a variety of child development topics and kindergarten readiness skills for children

  • Parents were provided registration dates for all 17 local school districts

  • Ongoing partnership with local school districts were continued to serve additional children with special needs

  • Staff attended the School Readiness Coalition to collaborate with the community and the local school district

  • School Readiness Advisory Committee meetings were held to meet with stakeholders and jointly worked on school readiness goals

  • Collaborative meeting with Head Start and kindergarten teachers, principals from the local public schools were held to share ideas and identify school readiness goals for children

  • Individualized “home-school” activities were sent home with children to engage parents in the work with their children and assist in their children’s progress

  • 585 kinder-bound children were assessed using the Transition Skills Summary. This is one of the county-wide School Readiness Activities directed by the Summit Education Initiative. This county wide effort encourages and facilitates activities that are related to school readiness.

For parents and families, school readiness means they are engaged in the long-term, life- long success of their child. Head Start recognizes that parents are their children's primary teacher and advocates. Therefore, as the Head Start and LEA's work together to promote school readiness and to engage families as their children make the transition to kindergarten, schools will be ready for children.