What Is Head Start?

Head Start is a federal program for 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 free medical and dental care, have 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. Children in Head Start are between the ages of three and five years old.

What Can The Head Start Program Offer To Children?

Head Start provides children with activities that help them grow mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically. The Head Start staff recognizes that parents are the first and most important teachers of their children. Head Start welcomes parental involvement in activities, and works as a partner with them to help the children progress.

Head Start staff members offer children 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. Children will leave Head Start more prepared for kindergarten, excited about learning, and ready to succeed.

Head Start children 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 at no cost to parents.

Mental health and other services are available for children and families with documented needs.

What Is A Child's Routine In The Head Start Program?

The BRCA Head Start program operates from August to May and Early Head Start operates 12 months a year. The Head Start day is 6 hours and includes breakfast, lunch, and snack. Click to read - USDA Statement Children with working or student parents are eligible for a full day, 12 month program. There is no charge for the 8 – 2 program. When the children arrive at the center, they are greeted warmly by their teachers. 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 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 breakfast and lunch, children receive a nutritious meal and brush their teeth. All children are taught to wash their hands before meals, and are encouraged to develop good personal and health habits. They also receive a healthy snack.

Eligibility

• Children are enrolled using a point system.
• A child must be between the ages of 3-5 and not age-eligible for kindergarten to recieve Head Start services.
• Children must turn 3 years old before August 31.

• Early Head Start participants include pregant women and children up to 35 months.
• 90% of children enrolled in the program are from low-income families. Income is determined by verifying 12 months of income.
• Disabled children comprise at least 10% of the total enrollment. Children with disabilities are enrolled without regard to income. Children with all types of disabilities are accepted into Head Start and all necessary services are provided at no cost to the family.
• Homeless children receive priority for enrollment.

What Can Head Start Offer Families?

Head Start offers family members a sense of belonging, other support services, and a chance to be involved in activities that help the whole family. Family members 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 their own community. Some parents learn English; 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 a family member has a social problem, such as drug or alcohol abuse, job loss, or other family crisis, they 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.

Anyone in the community can become a Head Start volunteer and learn about child development. This experience may later qualify you for training which can help you find employment in a child care field.

Parents can also have a voice in the Head Start program by serving on various committees and Policy Council. All parents are members of the center committee at each site. Parents' experiences in Head Start have raised their own self-confidence and improved their ability to make decisions.

Where Are Head Start Programs Located?

Quaker Meadows Generations

800 North Green Street

Morganton, NC 28655

Phone: 828-438-6255

Circle of Friends

240 Bravard Street

Rutherford College, NC 28671

Phone: 828-879-2367

Northside Learning Center
1440 Blowing Rock Boulevard
Lenoir, NC 28645
Phone: 828-758-4290

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