Tahlequah Daily Press

April 10, 2013

Getting a Head Start

By ROB W. ANDERSON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Head Start programs help seed the love of learning in young students.

Head Start provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition and parent involvement, while enhancing and fostering healthy relationships for families. The Ki Bois Community Action Head Start Centers are recruiting students for the 2013-2014 school year.

Children with disabilities are the primary target audience, but all children encouraged to apply and are included in the Ki Bois Head Start recruitment plan. Priority points are given for age, income level and disabilities.

While children with disabilities are provided with special services in the Ki Bois Head Start program, they also participate in the everyday classroom activities alongside all students, said Ki Bois Head Start Assistant Director Sherry Hullinger.

“As an administrator, I encourage parents to choose the Head Start program for their children to ensure they receive individualized comprehensive services, which include health, education and social development in a classroom setting that involves well-qualified experienced staff,” she said. “Ki Bois Head Start also strives to strengthen families as the primary nurturer of their children.”

In Head Start classes, children explore their environment with toys, books, games and activities, according to a recent Ki Bois Community Action Head Start Center press release.

The federal program is for pre-school children ages 3-4, and is designed for children whose families fall within federal income guidelines. No more than 10 percent of the total enrollment may be available for children whose families are above the income guidelines.

Though budget cuts are happening on every level of education, Ki Bois Community Action Head Start, which is a non-profit organization, will look to continue services children and their families need, said Hullinger.

“On March 1, Ki Bois Head Start, along with all Head Start programs across the nation, received a statement from the government reducing our federal grant funds by approximately 5 percent,” she said. “Ki Bois Head Start will formulate a plan to reduce the budget without cutting services to the children and their families.”

Former Head Start student Vanessa Farrow said the program is a great way to allow a child to learn and interact with other children.

Farrow said she has fond memories of the program staff – especially the cook, who made her feel like she was special.

“The program looks at the child’s health, education and social skills to make sure they are ready for public school. Head Start also helps the families of the children to reach goals or [help meet] any additional needs that may be an obstacle,” she said. “I honestly believe that Head Start gave me the love for learning that allowed me to go through school and graduate. I was the first one in my family to graduate high school and college. Head Start was such a great experience that I enjoy looking back on.”

Lorita Conn, a local parent who enrolled her child in Head Start, said she would recommend the program to any parent.

“What I like about the program are the teachers. The teachers are respectful toward the families. They let us know daily how our child has been throughout the day and talk about their accomplishments,” she said.

 

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