Friday, October 12, 2007

A Head Start For Needy Kids!


October is, among other things, Head Start Awareness Month. You've probably heard of Head Start, right? Many people simply think of Head Start as a preschool program for children from low-income homes. But it's actually so much more than that!
Head Start is meant to get at-risk children ready for school, not only by giving them a preschool program, but by serving them healrhy meals, training their parents to work with them at home, doing home visits, and inviting their parents to do volunteer work at the school in order to be more involved in their children's lives.
Head Start also constantly comes up with new additions to their program, in order to best serve children. For instance, thanks to support from Nike, they are now beginning to put computers, software, and printers into Head Start classrooms, in order to begin teaching young children about computers. (In typical homes, these days, preschoolers are exposed to their parents' computers and begin using child-friendly software at a very young age, but in Head Start, children from low-income homes often don't have computers at their homes.)
Nike is also helping to start a new Head Start program called NikeGo, which will teach children fun and simple ways to stay active, and also teach their parents ways to keep children active at home. The activities make new use of ordinary things found around the house,like socks and scarves.
Head Start programs also make a special effort to get fathers involved, even when children are from single-parent homes and live with their mothers. They strive to show fathers that they are important in the lives of their children and that they should stick around for their kids.
There are different Head Start programs geared towards different populations. For instance, Early Head Start begins when mothers are still pregnant. Mothers learn about proper nutrition, health, and developmental information. Once the baby is born, the baby can recieve services to provide him stimulation and attention in specially-qualified daycare centers, and parents continue to learn how to atimulate, care for and play with the baby at home. Children can recieve services from Early Head Start until they are three years old, and regular Head Start begins at age three.
Migrant Head Start works with specifically with migrant families, and services are similar to other Head Start programs. There is also a American Indian and Alaska Native. Each Head Start program works to meet the particular needs of the population it works with.
Isn't it great that so many kids are getting a head start in life?

1 comment:

Maddy said...

Indeed it is.
Best wishes