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questions about Head Start

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
my friend S has 3yo dd that's currently in a daycare center 1x/wk. she told me that they qualify for Head Start, and she's thinking of putting her in it next year.

i don't know much about Head Start, other than it's for low-income families. does anyone here have a child in Head Start? is it academic or play-based preschool???? i'm wondering because i've read that play-based preschools are ok for kids, but that ones that are academically-oriented stunt their learning later on. so i'm looking for info to pass on to my friend.

thanks
post #2 of 6
My sis works for Headstart in VA. They use a curriculum called Highscope. At the one she works at it is very child-directed and set up is Montessori style.

I have no idea if others are similar. I'm sure she could talk some of the instructors and take a look.

thistle
post #3 of 6
I do a lot of consultation for Head Start, though my children haven't attended one. In theory Head Start offers a very holistic curriculum-- they tend to education as well as nutrition, academics, health, etc. A typical school day has a structured program, with free play, circle time, "jobs", meals, clean up. There is generally a lot of free play. There is an emphasis on children helping take responsibility for the jobs in the classroom (such as feeding the fish, holding the door, etc.) and the teachers work on independent serving and manners at meal time. There is often a home visiting component as well as a support. I think it is a great program. That said, there is also a lot of variability between regions, and even in the same town, because teachers, like in the upper grades, are all individuals. The best plan would be to visit the program under consideration and see how it "feels."
post #4 of 6
I decided to avoid Head Start out here cause it is government run and they really push you to get vaccinated, etc. I have visited out here and it tends to be not too nice with a focus on mainstreaming kids into all the typical doctors, milk is the best for everyone, type crap! I dunno, I was very uncomfortable.

In the end, check it out and visit-only way you'll know!
post #5 of 6
I agree w/lauren in that you must visit it to see how it "feels". Although I was over income, I was told that I could apply and get put on the waiting list. I then decided to visit it and see. I was surprised that the one near me extended its hours to 6:30am-5:00pm. Which was perfect for me, but when I went to visit, I didn't like it. If I had to put my child there I would, but I just would not have been totally comfortable having her there all day. I can't really describe why I didn't like it, it was just a feeling I had. I also know that like regular schools, all teachers are different b/c I was told the Head Start program that was on the other side of town was excellent, and that the teachers do a really good job there. Also, a friend of mine has a nephew that goes there and they love it, so it all depends on the individual - not just the teacher, but the parent as well.
post #6 of 6
I have had 2 kids that have gone through the program & just got word that my dd who turned 3 this yr got in to start in the fall. We have enjoyed the program very much. Parent participation is encouraged, children get to choose which activities to do during the day for the most part, with some exceptions of course, and it is mostly play centerd with a small amount of "teaching" colors, shapes, and ABC's. Mostly it gives them a chance to try different activities they might not get to do at home & to socialize with other children their own age. HTH
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