Head Start’s educational program is designed to meet each child’s individual needs. It also aims to meet the need of the community served and its ethnic and cultural characteristics. If programs have a majority of bilingual children, for example, at least one teacher or aide must speak their native language.
Every child receives a variety of learning experiences to foster intellectual, social, and emotional growth. Children participate in indoor and outdoor play and are introduced to the concepts of words and numbers. They are encouraged to express their feelings and to develop self-confidence and the ability to get along with others.
The teaching staff is required to have teaching credentials at or above a Bachelor’s Degree. The teaching staff is also required to have 15 hours annually of professional training that links directly to classroom work.
Medical and Dental | Establishing medical and dental homes is a priority for HSOLC. On site, dental prevention service is provided for all Head Start children. Children also receive hearing, vision and nutrition screenings with appropriate referrals and resources offered to families when needed.
Nutrition | Meal time is an extension of learning by modeling language, conversation, social interaction and introducing new foods. The menu integrates the latest nutritional research so families are offered the healthiest meals possible. HSOLC works with all families to ensure that their cultural needs are valued and special diets are accommodated for.
Mental Health | A mental health professional is available to every Head Start program to provide mental health services for children and families. Ongoing training and support ensures that HSOLC provides high-quality classroom environments that foster success, safety and wellness for each child.
Participation in Decision Making | Parents are the most important influence on a child’s development. An essential part of our program is the involvement of parents in program planning and operating activities. Many serve as members of Policy Councils and Committees and have a voice in program design.
Volunteers | Parents also volunteer in classrooms, the playground, field-trips, meal times and more. Parents receive preference for employment in Head Start for jobs they qualify for.
Classes & Workshops | Through participation in classes and workshops on child development and through staff visits to the home, parents learn about the needs of their children and about educational activities that can be carried out at home.
Respect for the uniqueness of each family drives the work of family service staff as it builds a relationship with families and works on parent-generated goals. Family service staff provide resources and referrals, crisis intervention, opportunities for community involvement and support to develop literacy, leadership and employment skills.