Don’t Miss an Opportunity to Give your Child a Head Start!
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Head Start is a Federal program for preschool children from low-income families. Children who attend Head Start participate in a variety of educational activities. They also receive medical and dental care, have meals and snacks, and enjoy playing indoors and outdoors in a safe setting.
Education and Curriculum
Head Start is committed to the ideal that each child should have many rich learning experiences in a nurturing environment. Our goal is to provide each child and parent opportunities to view themselves as competent and successful, and to help develop a love for learning. Young children learn best through discovery learning rather than through color pages, workbooks or drills. Children will leave Head Start loving to learn, treasuring books and reading, and with a sense of social competence. Their day will alternate between teacher directed activities and independent learning through centers and activities of their choice. The learning centers are filled with rich materials that help them learn. All activities are planned to respect each child’s age and abilities. An observational assessment of each child is done routinely to identify goals for the child. Curriculum goals are consistent with Texas Education Agency requirements for Pre-School programs.
Children with Disabilities
Children with disabilities are fully included in classrooms and home based activities. Head Start is a full inclusion program and all children receive the full range of services and activities. Head Start works closely with the local public schools to assure that children with disabilities receive all the special and related services they need. Referrals and further evaluations are made as needed, in partnership with the parent. More information about Disability Services in Head Start is available in the Disabilities Pamphlet, which is distributed at enrollment.
Discipline and Mental Wellness
Head Start provides an atmosphere of positive guidance and mental wellness for children, parents and staff. Teachers and home visitors are trained in building relationships with children, and in positive guidance techniques. Guidance and discipline techniques are consistent and based on an understanding of the development of each child. Mental health specialists are on staff in the program to assist teachers, home visitors and parents in developing the most appropriate guidelines for children that will help them develop internal discipline and appropriate behaviour. Firm and consistent limits are set for children, but no physical or verbal punishment is ever used, and is not needed.
Parents are encouraged and sometimes surprised at the positive results while watching staff guide children with these techniques. Head Start recognizes that there are different methods of correcting children, and respects family values. While the children are at the center, or during a home visit, we do ask that you allow staff to use this positive guidance, and not use any physical or verbal punishment. We are licensed and monitored by the Minimum Standards for Day Care with the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, which also prohibits any physical or verbal punishment.
Health and Nutrition
All children in the centers eat a family style breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack, which provides 2/3 of the minimum daily nutrition requirements for pre-school children. Menus for the children’s meals include familiar foods and occasionally introduce a new food, or a food from another culture. Family style meals are rich in learning experiences; children gain nutrition concepts, health and hygiene skills, social skills and language development. Menus are posted at the center and in the parent newsletters so parents can reinforce those concepts at home, and help children make healthy food choices at home.
Health services for all children include medical and dental screenings, follow-up for identified problems, nutrition screenings, growth tracking, health and nutrition activities in the classrooms and on home visits, and parent information on health and nutrition related topics. Head Start has a goal of helping each family establish a long term medical home for quality care. Parents are required to attend all screenings and appointments with their child(ren).
To attend Head Start, your child must have proof of current immunization ( including current TB and HIB vaccine). If your child needs to take medication during school hours, you must sign a prescription release form. The form will allow the teacher or nurse give the medicine at the right time. All medicine must be in its original container. Most doctors are aware of this licensing requirement and will give you two prescriptions – one for home and one for child care center.
In order to protect all children enrolled, do not send your child to school if he/she has any contagious illness or condition – if you are not sure, contact your child’s teacher.
This Head Start program does not provide transportation to and from the centers, with the exception of the Navasota Partnership at Navasota Primary School. If you do not have transportation, please contact your child’s teacher. Suggestions can be given regarding parents who live near you; car pooling might be a possibility.
Transportation assistance is given for social services and medical and dental visits when a parent is unable to provide transportation. Teachers and home visitors will need to know in advance if parents need this assistance.
To benefit fully from the program, your child needs to attend the program every day (or every week for Home Base), unless he/she is ill. After each absence parents should send a note to the child’s teacher explaining the absence. If your child is absent three days, the teacher will contact you to offer any social service assistance or parent involvement support that may be needed. After three days of unexcused absences, the child may be dropped from the program. It is important to communicate with the teacher or home visitor and let them know about any problem you might be having that is keeping the child from attending. Children must have current immunizations and a complete physical to attend Head Start.
Parents are the primary educators of their children and must be actively involved in all aspects of the Head Start Program to make it successful. Many opportunities for involvement in the program are offered each year.
PARENT MEETINGS – Meetings are held monthly. Each center and home base area will have an elected parent committee. These committees assist teachers and home visitors with activities, suggestions and guidance, and serve as a link to the Policy Council. These monthly meetings include speakers, pamphlets and activities chosen by the parents. Parents receive notice of meetings in advance and meet together regularly to work on projects or to address parent concerns. Child care and transportation to these meetings is available.
POLICY COUNCIL – Policy Council is a vital part of the policy making board for Head Start. The Policy Council, BVCAA Executive Board and Head Start Administrative Staff work as partners to develop and implement policies and procedures for the program, and in planning program development. Policy Council meets monthly. Parent officers are elected at the first parent meeting to serve on the Policy Council. Community representatives also serve on the Council. It is very important for all Policy Council members to be present at each council meeting in order to conduct business properly. Child care and transportation to these meetings is available.
Volunteers in Head Start represent a wide range of ages, talents and commitments to enrolled children and families. Volunteers can serve in many ways – as a third person in the classroom, assisting with classroom and meal activities, preparing teaching materials, reading to the children, assisting on field trips, assisting with clerical duties in the central office or training room, translating and many other ways. For more information, there is a volunteer pamphlet that is distributed at the time of enrollment.
Parents are invited to all Head Start staff training. The schedule is printed in “Growing With Our Children”, the Head Start newsletter. There are two scheduled “Pathways to Parenting” Seminars every year, and Parent Support Groups. There are four Scholarships available to parents for Child Development courses at Blinn College. Applications for these scholarships are available upon request.
Special Home Base information
If you are enrolled in the Head Start Home Base Program, you have the unique opportunity to become a real specialist in child development from the training provided during a home visit. Head Start Home Visitors aid the parent in enhancing the overall development of your child(ren) by bringing educational materials into the home and by using materials that are already in the home.
Home Base families should expect one home visit a week that lasts 1½ hours. The home visitor will help you identify what kinds of things he/she is ready to learn next by using a developmental assessment. The home visitor will provide materials, activities, and instructions to parents so that parents can enhance their role as the child’s primary educator. Parents are asked to read and sign the home visit evaluation after each visit. Home Base children and parents are provided the full range of services as Center Base children and parents. Children are given opportunities for social development through planned socializations twice a month.
Social Services in Head Start is an organized method of assisting families to assess their needs and provide those services that build upon individual strengths of families to meet their own needs. Some methods used to help families meet their needs are social service referrals, community outreach, partnerships, and information and training for parents about available community resources and how to access them. Each family is provided a community resource booklet.
Child Abuse Reporting Policy
In accordance with state law, Head Start staff is required to report any known or suspected child abuse or neglect. A copy of that policy is available at each center and is also included in the Minimum Day Care Standards handbook, which is available for you to review at the center. Each year, Head Start provides training on “Identifying and Reporting Child Abuse” to all staff and parents.
Teachers are required to schedule two home visits to each child’s home during the year. These visits are designed to help school and family work together to benefit each child. Parents are welcome in the classrooms at the centers any time, and teachers are available for scheduled conferences as needed.
Head Start classes are 8:30am – 2:30pm Monday through Friday. Children should arrive at 8:30am and must be picked up by 2:30pm. Current months of operation are August through May.
Whether enrolled in the Center Based or Home Based programs, Head Start children receive a wonderful opportunity to develop school readiness by gaining overall social competence. Children who enroll in this program indeed get a “Head Start” on school success.
To be eligible for participation in Head Start, children must be under the federal poverty income guidelines. Parent or guardian must complete an application, provide at least two verification of income for the past 12 months, a birth certificate and immunization record for the child. If you are interested in applying for your child, age 6 weeks to 4 years of age, please contact your nearest center:
BVCAP Head Start Administration & Home Base for Brazos, Burleson and Leon County
4001 E. 29th Suite 175
Bryan, Texas 77802
Early Head Start
3400 S. Texas Ave. Suite 7, Bryan, Tx 77802
305 W. Val Verde, Brenham, Tx 77833
711 Houston, Bryan, Tx 77803
710 Magnolia, Hearne, Tx 77859
1000 Raney Lane, Madisonville Tx 77864
1604 Stacey St., Navasota, Tx 77868
1306 Barak Lane, Bryan, Tx 77802