What would be included in a general daily routine for my child in Head Start?
At Mountainland Head Start, Inc. we have half-day and extended day center-based programs. Classroom time includes a large variety of activities. Often teachers begin the day with a circle time activity. They may also sing, dance, do fingerplays, have a story time, etc. They may have short lessons about studies that they are doing. Children work individually, in small groups, large groups, and during play they can choose to play alone or with others. They also play outdoors, which allows for exercise, fresh air, and social or individual play. At snack, children receive nutritious food, and at breakfast or lunch time, they receive a full nutritious meal. They brush their teeth after lunch. Children are taught to wash their hands before meals, and are encouraged to develop healthy hygiene habits. Near the end of the school session, end of the day activities may be enjoyed, and the children get ready to go home on the bus, or to be picked up by a parent or caregiver.
Does Head Start accept children with disabilities or special needs?
Yes. At least 10 percent of the total number of children enrolled at Head Start will be children with disabilities who are eligible for special education and related services.
What can Head Start offer my family?
Head Start offers the family a chance to be involved in activities and events for the whole family. Parents and guardians can take training and classes on a variety of subjects, such as child rearing, parent education, health and nutrition, and making use of available resources in the local community. Each family has the support of a Family Advocate who visits with parents and encourage them to set goals to achieve greater success as an individual or family. They can also provide referrals to medical, dental, social welfare, mental health, or employment specialists in the community.
As parents become Head Start Volunteers, they learn more about child development and education. They can have a voice in the Head Start program by serving on various committees. Parent involvement leads to parents gaining more self confidence and self-esteem, improving their ability to make decisions, become more employable, and helping them become more sensitive, well informed and successful parents.
Why do the children go out to play every day, even when the weather is cold?
Children need to develop their large muscles and skills through outdoor play. However, if the weather is extremely inclement or the air pollution is deemed unsafe by Head Start Health Coordinator, the children will stay in and do motor development activities in the classroom.
My child was evaluated by the school district for speech concerns and did not qualify for school district services. I still have concerns. Is there anything I can do?
The school district can do another evaluation six months after the last evaluation if there are still concerns. In the meantime, children may receive extra help in the Head Start class they are enrolled in through participating in teacher facilitated speech/language small group instruction and activities in the classroom and through Head Start’s every day speech/language enriched curriculum.
Will my child learn to read in Head Start?
Learning to read requires acquiring a lot of preparatory skills first. We give children lots of opportunities to gain “pre-reading” skills. They have activities where they learn to recognize their name and identify letters. They learn about the various parts of books (front, back, spine, author, etc.) and proper care of them. They have activities where they can make their own books. They learn to “read” environmental print (McDonald’s, STOP, Smith’s, other words in their world). As their skills progress, they will be given opportunities to develop reading skills. However, children are not expected by state standards to be reading by entry to kindergarten.
May I bring my other children with me when I visit my child’s classroom?
Although we love children and families, when you visit in the classroom it is a special time to focus exclusively on your Head Start child.
I have a responsible 12-year-old child. Since I am not able to volunteer in the classroom, may he/she volunteer?
Older siblings, who are volunteering in the classroom in place of a parent, must be at least 16 years of age, and must have advance permission from the teacher.
What is the purpose of assessments?
Assessment of each individual child assists teachers in planning activities the children are interested in and supports their development, in recognizing each child’s current strengths and reinforcing them, and in providing children with opportunities to gain new skills.
My child’s class starts at 8:30 a.m., and my other children must be at school at 8:15 a.m. Is it okay to drop my Head Start child off at 8:10 a.m.?
We try to be as flexible as possible; however, we must be very strict with our class times. Teachers use the time before and after class to prepare for the day. There is often no one in the room to stay with your child, so we need you to stay with your child until class starts and pick them up as soon as class ends.