Early Head Start Report to the Community
- Enrollment: The total enrollment for the Head Start program is 252 children. There are 60 children in the Early Head Start program. We are constantly enrolling children in both programs as vacancies occur, and we strive to serve 100% of eligible children. The only instances in which we serve children that are considered "over-income" for the program is if they have special needs or are homeless. We have about 150 families on the Head Start wait list and about 60 families on the Early Head Start waitlist.
- Review: In the fall of 2007, Early Head Start underwent a triennial federal review and received a gold star from the Secretary of Health and Human Services, indicating that the program received zero deficiencies in the review. Head Start underwent its triennial federal review the week of May 18-22, 2009. The results of the review were also excellent.
- Medical and Dental Exams: 100% of our children receive medical exams and 99% receive dental exams. Rarely, there may be a parent that refuses dental care for their child. If that occurs, the Health/Nutrition Coordinator and Family Service Specialist endeavor to educate the parent about the long-term health benefits of preventative dental care during a child's early years.
- Parent Involvement: Our parent involvement activities include:
- Monthly parent meetings designed to educate families on issues pertinent to parenting, health, nutrition, etc.
- Monthly mental health "drop-in" groups designed to give parents opportunities to meet with our Mental Health Consultant, a licensed LCSW to discuss any developmental or mental health concerns they may have about their child or about themselves.
- Quarterly "Men About Head Start" (male involvement) discussion groups and project participation groups.
- Quarterly community partnership and health advisory committee meetings designed to encourage parents to participate in networking and give input to the programs.
- Policy Council meetings--parents elected by their peers to represent the sites as an advisory board to the management.
- Early Head Start holds 2 socialization groups per month to allow parents and their infants and toddlers the opportunity to learn from and socialize with others.
- Kindergarten transition activities throughout the year designed to educate parents on how to prepare their children and how to register for kindergarten.
- Special events to celebrate special times of the year (for example, "Winter Sing", held before winter break) and special days such as Mother's and Father's Day.
- Transportation Task Force meetings held throughout the year to help parents brainstorm ways to address their transportation needs in Northern Virginia.
Additionally, parents are encouraged to volunteer in the classroom on a regular basis. Parents are also encouraged to take our substitute teacher training so that they may work in classrooms as a substitute.
- Kindergarten Preparation: At the beginning of each year, during parent orientation, parents are given materials and information on how to begin preparing their children for kindergarten. Over the course of the year, various workshops are held to prepare parents on what to expect in kindergarten and how to register their child for kindergarten. The preparation culminates in the Kindergarten Institute, held each year in May, that brings together kindergarten-bound parents and kindergarten experts such as elementary school officials, kindergarten teachers, former Head Start parents with children now in kindergarten, and developmental specialists. Together, these individuals work to educate parents on w hat to expect in kindergarten and how to continue developing their child(ren) over the summer. Throughout the summer, parents receive letters encouraging them to bring their children to ACPS K-prep. The letters also inform parents that they will still have the opportunity to contact their family service specialists over the first six months of the school year if they are in need of help or referrals to address their kindergarten-bound child's needs, or their own needs.