Head Start is a Federal program for preschool children from low-income families. The Head Start program is operated by local non-profit organizations in almost every county in the country. Children who attend Head Start participate in a variety of educational activities. They also receive healthy meals and snacks, and enjoy playing indoors and outdoors in a safe setting.
Head Start helps all children succeed. Services are offered to meet the special needs of children with disabilities. Most children in Head Start are between the ages of three and five years old.
What Do the Blocks Mean?
The Head Start Emblem tells a story...
The two squares represent early childhood by suggesting
The vertical stripes represent the child and the parent.
The arrow pointing upward represents the direction out of
poverty and on to the future.
The arrangement of the blocks represent stairs by which
this can be accomplished.
The colors red, white, and blue represent the United States
and the opportunities it provides for its citizens.
What Can the Head Start Program Offer to Your Child?
Head Start provides children with activities that help them grow mentally, socially, emotionally and physically. The Head Start staff recognize that, as parents, you are the first and most important teachers of your children. They will welcome your involvement in Head Start activities, and will work as partners with you to help your child progress.
Head Start staff members offer your child love, acceptance, understanding, and the opportunity to learn and to experience success. Head Start children socialize with others, solve problems, and have other experiences which help them become self-confident. The children also improve their listening and speaking skills.
The children spend time in stimulating settings where they form good habits and enjoy playing with toys and working on tasks with classmates. Your child will leave Head Start more prepared for kindegarten, excited about learning, and ready to succeed.
Your Head Start child will also be examined by skilled professionals for any health problems. Professionals will arrange vision and hearing tests and any needed immunizations. Head Start offers a nutrition assessment and dental exams as well. Children with health needs receive follow-up care.
Mental health and other services are available for children and families with special needs.
What Would Be Your Child's Routine In A Head Start Program?
Most children enrolled in Lafourche Parish Head Start attend a full day.
Some center-based programs offer children bus rides to and from home. Lafourche Parish Head Start provides bus service to most sites.
When the children arrive at the center, they are greeted warmly by their teachers. They put whatever they have brought from home in a place which is their own to use every day.
Classroom time includes many different activities. Some teachers begin the day by asking the children to sit in a circle. This encourages the children to talk about an idea or experience they want to share with the others. In some centers, the children plan their activities. They may choose among art, playing with blocks or table toys, science activities, dancing to music, looking at books, or pretend housekeeping. Children can switch activities if they prefer another challenge.
Each day, they have time to work in a small group with other children and to play outdoors on safe playground equipment.
At lunchtime, children receive a nutritious meal and brush their teeth. All the children are taught to wash their hands before meals, and are encouraged to develop good personal and health habits.
What Can Head Start Offer Your Family?
Head Start offers you a sense of belonging, other support services, and a chance to be involved in activities to help your whole family. You can take part in training classes on many subjects, such as child rearing, job training, learning about health and nutrition, and using free resources in your own community. Some parents learn English language; others learn to read. Head Start also offers assistance to parents interested in obtaining a high school General Equivalency Diploma (GED) or other adult education opportunities.
If you have a family member with a special problem, such as drug or alcohol abuse, job loss, or other family crises, your family can receive help through Head Start.
Head Start staff members refer families needing help to medical, social welfare, or employment specialists they know in the community, and will follow up to be sure you receive assistance.
You can become a Head Start volunteer and learn more about child development. This experience may later qualify you for training which can help you find employment in the child care field.
You can also have a voice in the Head Start program by serving on various committees. Parents' experiences in Head Start have raised their own self-confidence and improved their ability to make decisions.