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Top 10 Reasons for Head Start Programs

For new parents and guardians, there are many decisions that must be made to ensure the wellbeing of children. Some of these decisions include...where do I take them when returning back to work? Should I return back to work? How can I ensure the best, quality care for my little one?

Crossroads Youth & Family Services believes in the Head Start/ Early Head Start program because it has a direct impact on family’s lives. Here are the top 10 reasons to enroll in Head Start/ Early Head Start Programs.

1. It is FREE

With funding from the federal government, foundations, and other charitable organizations, Head Start and Early Head Start are programs that help benefit families with income restrictions. By meeting specific guidelines, these families receive impeccable care for their little ones. Click here to learn more about income requirements and how to get enrolled.

2. Social Interaction

From Birth to Five, children’s personalities and behaviors are developed. These are the most formative years for little ones. In fact, “children are born with the need and desire to connect with those around them.” Head Start programs help parents understand “several interrelated areas of development, including special interaction, emotional awareness, and self-regulation.” Click here to learn more.

3. Counseling and Mental Wellness Services

Crossroads Head Start/Early Head Start recognizes that the earliest years set the stage for lifetime emotional well-being, social skills and competencies. We strive to create a socioemotional environment which gives all children and their families the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills needed for positive behavioral and mental health. Social competence, affect regulation, problem- solving skills, positive self-concept, and school readiness are promoted through supportive relationships and resources for parents.

4. Licensed, Qualified Teachers

Leaving little ones is always a tough decision. At Crossroads and all Head Start programs, teachers are licensed and qualified with degrees specializing in Early Childhood Education.

5. Developmental Tools

For decades, demonstrates the developmental stages of the brain. In more recent years, more information explains the importance of developmental years. Since “the preschool years are the time in which the brain begins to maximize efficiency by determining which connections to keep and which to eliminate.” Focusing on child development is the foundation of the program to help create the best possibility for a healthy, happy future. This year, Crossroads partnered with the CDC’s Know the Signs. Act Early. In conjunction with the Oklahoma Autism Center, this program aims to help families know where their child should be developmentally.

6. Child Portfolios

Crossroads’ program, and most Head Start programs, incorporate individualized goals for children and families. These goals are tracked in a portfolio for parents. The ChildPlus software helps centralize data that helps parents make informed decisions about their little ones. For a quick demonstration of the ChildPlus program, click here.

7. Friendships

If you were to ask me to list my friends while I was a toddler over thirty years ago, my mind would draw a blank. I see pictures. I hear stories, but the reality is I don’t remember playing in the sand in Germany or that trip to Disney World. None-the-less, these early interactions shaped who I am today. Even though it seems like kids

Just playing’, “making friends involves many complex verbal and nonverbal social interactions and requires the skilled use of social perception and self-regulatory behaviors” (DeGeorge, 1998). These are skills that follow throughout the years and lead to better outcomes as adults.

8. Accommodating Schedules

Head Start and Early Head Start Programs run along with public school systems to help families have an accommodating schedule for all their children. Many centers offer extended hours to meet the needs of varying work schedules. Also, these programs provide full-day and half-day options for families based on need.

9. Family Programs

Our program respects that families are the primary educators of their children; we demonstrate that we value the families’ input by welcoming them into our centers/classrooms during all program hours. We encourage the families to participate in Family Engagement activities along with the daily activities and classroom routines and in the observation of the children. In doing this, we believe that we are empowering the families to become more familiar with the growth and development of their children. This is in conjunction with what is most convenient with their schedules. The center/classroom Parent Coordinator will assist the staff by encouraging other parents and community volunteers to participate in the classroom. Staff, with the help of the Parent Coordinator, will develop a monthly Classroom Newsletter.

10. Exploratory Learning

The Oklahoma legislature just made new laws regarding the importance of play in early child development. In fact, “children’s play reflects their wide-ranging and varied interests and preoccupations.” Through exploration, program participants are about to “learn though physical and mental challenges through an active learning process involving other people, objects, ideas, and events.”

These are our top 10. If you have participated in Early Head Start or Head Start programs we would love to hear from you. What are some of your top reasons to participate in this program?

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