Children must be healthy to learn. Child Inc. Head Start and Early Head Start programs work with families and children to understand how to achieve and maintain optimum physical health. This includes:

  • Linking families with a medical & dental home
  • Ensuring all enrollees receive developmental, sensory, and behavioral screening
  • Ensuring all enrollees receive well-child physical examinations based on their state’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) schedule

As well as promoting Oral Health. Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease. It is caused by bacteria that can be shared from person to person. Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste is one of the most effective ways to prevent tooth decay and promote good oral health. Effective oral health practices vary depending on the developmental skills of each child. When children have a healthy mouth, they can speak more clearly, eat healthy foods, and feel good about themselves. A healthy mouth also means children can better focus and learn, have a pain-free mouth, and incur fewer dental costs.

If concerns are found, families are supported in obtaining further evaluations, treatment, and any follow-up recommended by the medical professional. Daily health checks by classroom staff and ongoing conversations with parents help programs to individualize health-related services and education for each child.

To learn more about requirements in Head Start and related evidence-based recommendations for out-of-home care settings, review Compliance with Care: A Crosswalk Between the Head Start Program Performance Standards and Caring for Our Children, 3rd Edition.

Research shows that what happens during the first five years of life is critical to healthy child development. Head Start’s comprehensive focus on the five core domains of birth to 5 development is essential to children getting ready for school.

Head Start programs offer services that support families and strengthen communities so that children are healthy, safe, and ready to learn. They focus on early identification, treatment, and health promotion. Staff use these health strategies to make sure children engage in learning. They are critical parts of Head Start’s school readiness activities.

Information retrieved from: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/health

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