Head Start promotes the school readiness of young children from low-income families. Head Start and Early Head Start programs support the comprehensive development of children from birth to age 5, in centers, partner classrooms, child care partner locations, and in their own homes.
Child Inc. Head Start Centers
Children, ages 3 – 5, receive comprehensive Head Start services including education, health, dental, nutrition, mental health services, along with special education for children with disabilities. Family engagement and support are provided on site by Family Advocates.
Child Inc. operates 16 child development centers throughout Travis County. Educational Head Start services are provided Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00p.m., September through May. Our 4 year old classrooms maintain a 1-10 staff-child ratio with a limit of 20 children, and our 3 year old classrooms have a maximum of 17 children. This affords each child the necessary attention that results in the child’s growth, maturation, and school readiness. Child Inc. teachers are well-qualified and meet the Federal Head Start certification and degree regulations.
Assessing Child Development
As children enter and participate in the Child Inc. center-based program, their ongoing developmental growth is assessed regularly. When children enter a center, parents are asked to complete a screening tool known as the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. This questionnaire helps the teacher know how the parent views her/his child’s developmental progress. Throughout the year, teachers use the Teaching Strategies Gold assessment tool to observe and document children’s learning and development over time. Information gathered about each child’s progress is shared with the child’s parent during fall, winter, spring conferences and fall and spring home visits. This information is used to support, guide, and inform lesson planning and classroom instruction. The information that comes from the fall screening tool and the ongoing assessments work together so that the child’s educational needs are met in both the classroom and in the home.
Head Start classrooms are rich in materials designed to help children acquire the social and academic skills that will benefit them as they move into kindergarten and first grade. Classroom materials include a large selection of books and manipulative toys such as puzzles, games, blocks, and musical instruments. Teachers present knowledge to children through themes or studies. An example of a theme is learning about one’s community. An example of a study is learning all about clothing. Teachers’ lesson planning is supported by two curricula: Creative Curriculum and Scholastic Big Day. Both curricula are research-based and appropriate for children ages 3-5 years. All curricula activities are designed to help children develop, mature, and become school ready.
For more information, visit the Office of Head Start website: htp://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ohs/about/head-start