In Head Start, all children are special, including those with disabilities. Head Start considers each child a unique person with individual strengths and needs, and provides an individualized program for the child. Regardless of the severity, children with disabilities are welcome in Head Start, including:
Traumatic Brain Injury
Hearing Impairment, including Deafness
Visual Impairment, including Blindness
Many children require special services such as speech therapy, physical therapy, special health services, or other related services. These special services are provided to the children with disabilities through collaboration with the Local Education Agencies (LEA) and other agencies.
L.B.J. & C. Head Start’s Approach to School Readiness
L.B.J. & C. Head Start is committed to ensuring that children who leave our program are prepared when they enter the kindergarten program in the public schools by implementing The Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework Domains:
· Approaches to Learning
· Social and Emotional Development
· Language and Literacy
· Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development
With the implementation of these domains, L.B.J.& C. Head Start will ensure that children (including those with disabilities) and families served are fully equipped with necessary skills to successfully transition to kindergarten
The Program has developed an Education Advisory that consists of administrators, supervisors, center staff, consultants, education specialists, parents, board members, policy council members and school district partners. The Education Advisory meets at our central office at a minimum of three times a year. The Education Advisory is very much involved in the school readiness approach.
The program also believes School Readiness goals are expected to be established in consultation with the parents and families. At the beginning of the program year, staff meet with parents to establish their goals for their child. The Galileo Individual Development Profile is shared with the parent and other family members as required during home visits, parent/staff conferences, after each assessment period to show the goals learned in each domain/scale. Program staff members are encouraged to engage in partnerships with families to further support their children’s learning. Staff is available in the centers to support families by building strong relationships and responding to their interests and needs through formal partnerships.
The program will collect data on children, parents, family, and the community. This will be obtained from various sources, such as child and family records, ChildPlus, Galileo, and information from the parent and the community, etc. The aggregated data will be analyzed to measure child and family progress. This will determine the outcome of services towards achieving school readiness.
Information learned from the analysis of aggregated data will assist the program in informing stakeholders of family and child outcomes, as well as, making adjustments and/or changes in policies, plans, or procedures to strengthen school readiness in our program. Program data aggregated and analyzed three times a year to assist in continuous program improvement and enhance school readiness will be reported to the Advisory Committees, Policy Council, and Board of Directors to help assist them in decision-making for the Program.
L.B.J.& C. Head Start strives to assist the entire family by increasing their self-confidence, self-efficiency, and improve the overall quality of their lives. The Family Engagement Unit provides an on-going outreach and recruitment process that informs families of services provided and solicits applications for enrollment into the program. Head Start families receive assistance with developing a Family Partnership Agreement, assistance in attainable goals, and a comprehensive Community Resource Booklet. Counseling, emergency assistance, support, and guidance are provided to families either directly from the Head Start Program or through our extensive referral services.
Through follow-up and coordination and cooperation with area service providers, Family Engagement staff serve as advocates for L.B.J.& C. Head Start families. If a family has difficulty securing food, clothing, shelter, or any other available service, the family can call their local Family Engagement Staff for assistance in acquiring their needs.
The Head Start program provides a comprehensive health service program that includes a broad range of medical, dental, mental health, and nutrition services for the children. The Health Plan provides the child's family with the necessary skill and insight to link the family to an on-going health care system to ensure that the child continues to receive comprehensive health care even after leaving Head Start.
Children who develop low expectations of themselves because of problems in early childhood may never achieve a level of self-esteem needed for educational success. The Mental Health Unit of Head Start focuses on the intellectual, emotional, and social development of the child and the family's ability to cope with everyday stressors. Often, "mental health" brings to mind mental illness. However, to be mentally healthy means to get the most out of life and has nothing to do with mental illness. Mental health or mental wellness is the capacity to cope with all of life circumstances; the highs, the lows, the joys, and the sorrows. We all experience good days and bad days! The difference is how we get through each day and our ability to continue building life management skills. Therefore, Mental Health in Head Start focuses on love, work, and play.
L.B.J.& C. has contracted with Assessment, Counseling and Training Services (ACTS) to provide mental health services for the Head Start program. The ACTS team of mental health professionals provides support to children, parents, and staff members and is available to them for consultation, assessments, and training.
Each year, a Parenting Training Program is offered in each of the Head Start locations. ACTS conducts this program. We encourage 100% participation in this exciting program. Parents and the community are notified when the Parent Training Program is scheduled in each area. Mental Health makes good families better.
The major goal of the Nutrition Unit is to develop, implement, and maintain a food service program that:
Provides meals appropriate to help meet the child's daily nutritional needs in accordance to Head Start Regulations and USDA/CACFP Requirements.
Provide nutrition education for the child and parent.
Encourage and instill healthy eating habits.
Assist the family in the utilization of food assistance programs.
Provide budget and consumer food information.
Provide information on proper methods of food storage and ideas and utilization of leftovers.
Assure compliance with local, state and federal sanitation laws and regulations for food service operation.
Provide nutrition training for staff, volunteers, and parents.
Assure equipment, materials, and supplies are available for the smooth and timely delivery of the food service operation.
Encourage family input into the menus to ensure culturally diverse menus.
Parents are invited to serve as officers of the Parent Committee, to serve as a Policy Council Representative or Alternate, and to share in the decision-making process about the nature and operation of the program. Parents may attend meetings and trainings. Suggestions are always welcome for consideration concerning the program. Parents are encouraged to observe in the classroom, volunteer in any area of the program operation, and apply for employment with Head Start when jobs become available. Parents should help develop activities for the children's locally-designed curriculum and to work as partners with the staff in the development and education of their child.
Every third person in the classroom should be a volunteer. Parents are welcome to visit the center anytime. Parents can visit the classroom of their choice and participate to the degree they desire pending any legal restrictions. Parents can attend meetings and vote on decisions that are being made, and parents can also attend parent workshops and learn more about current topics. L.B.J.& C. Head Start is committed to the development of compassionate partnerships in the parent and staff relationship, while providing the children with optimum growth and development.
Parent's participation is not required as a condition of his/her child's enrollment. Participation is voluntary. However, Head Start needs parental input into all aspects of the Head Start Program. L.B.J.& C. Head Start plays a key role in all communities that we are located in. Head Start depends on the community for support, guidance, resources, and advocacy. The community depends on Head Start for improving the quality of our society by giving children a foundation to succeed in life and providing needed services to families. Each year, a Parenting Training Program is offered in each of the Head Start locations. Assessment, Counseling, and Training Services (ACTS), as well as parent trainings that are made available each year. We encourage 100% participation in this exciting program.
The goal of this Unit is to develop, improve, and maintain the quality of professional and paraprofessional staff performance at all levels and within all Units of L.B.J.& C. Head Start program. Head Start encourages and supports its staff and families we serve in utilizing the career development opportunities within our program.
The main goal of the transition unit is to provide a smooth transition process into and out of the L.B.J.& C. Head Start program for the child, the parents, and teachers. Transition, moving from one environment to another, can be very difficult and stressful for young children and their families. Some of the services offered include:
Parent/Child Orientation: Parents learn about the services offered, their rights and responsibilities; and are welcomed to the Program and encouraged to volunteer in many areas. Children meet the staff and become familiar with the center.
Teacher's First Home Visit: Prior to the child entering the classroom, the child's teacher visits the parents and child to further explain the services offered, gather information about the child and family, and offer at-home transition activities for the parent and child to do together to prepare for the Head Start experience.
Kindergarten Visits: The child, parents, and teachers visit the public school the child plans to attend. Kindergarten teachers also visit the Head Start center to meet with parents and explain the kindergarten program and answer questions.
Transition Booklet: Each family whose child will be entering kindergarten receives an informative booklet to assist in preparation for the transition into kindergarten in their county's public school system.
Forwarding of Records: Upon parental consent, children's records, including health summary reports and educational summary reports, will be forwarded to the elementary school the child will attend. Additional individual transition services are available to both the children and families who exhibit the need or request these services.