Head Start is the only national program of its kind that utilizes a comprehensive service approach to early childhood education. The Head Start program is based on the premise that all children share certain needs, and that children of low-income families in particular can benefit from a comprehensive program of services and support.
These comprehensive services include three major areas of concentration:
Health, Nutrition & Disability Services
Head Start works to provide comprehensive support in preventative healthcare services. Early Identification of health related needs assures that every child receives medical, dental, mental health and nutritional care.
Early Childhood Development
Head Start is designed to meet the needs of each child through an individualized strength based curriculum of multiple learning disciplines which promote and encourage social, emotional, cognitive and physical growth and development. Head Start has a strong focus on literacy and language development.
The teachers work includes:
Family and Community Partnerships
The Head Start approach actively involves parents in the program.
This is done though:
A growing body of evidence from research demonstrates that young children with disabilities benefit from service delivery in quality educational programs provided in inclusive environments.
Research also shows that the presence of children with disabilities in early childhood classrooms has a positive impact on the developmental progress of all children. A Head Start classroom offers a diverse learning environment.
Head Start Program Performance Standards
These standards evolved from the application of research and effective educational approaches for quality early childhood programs. Based on evidence from this research, the program standards guide the operation of all Head Start programs. By adhering to these standards, Head Start programs can ensure early childhood program quality.
Head Start programs strive to provide a broad continuum of services to meet the needs of all their children and families. Sometimes the scheduling and service needs of a Head Start family cannot be met by the program alone. In this case many Head Start programs build partnerships with other early childhood programs and agencies to empower families to access services offered within their community.
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