Head Start Essay example

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Head Start

Head Start and Early Head Start are comprehensive child development programs which serve children from birth to age five, pregnant woman and their extended families. They are child-focused programs that have the overall goal of increasing the school readiness of young children in low-income families. . These programs try to prepare young children intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically for their future educational and social endeavors. ( U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2002).. The programs prepare the parent(s) to be supportive in the endeavor. Head Start has the philosophy that parents are a child's first and most influential teacher. The Head Start program is beneficial to early learning.

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The program serves approximately
915,000 children. During the 1999 reauthorization, Congress decided that there was a need for standards of literacy (which have not yet been fully implemented) . ( Good Start, Grow Smart: The Bush Administration's Early Childhood Initiatives, 2002).

In the 1994 legislation revised Head Start performance standards.

Guidelines and new standards were set nationwide. The legislation focused on infants and toddlers and their families as well as quality services for children. The education program is designed to meet the needs of each child in Head Start.

Children must meet specific guidelines in order to qualify for Head Start. Family income (over the last year) is considered. The family must be a low-income family (income below the official poverty level). Other things taken into consideration for acceptance are the lack of another pre-school program in the community, a population of less than 1,000 persons and residence in a remote area.

Head Start programs emphasize the importance of early identification of health problems. Referrals are made to various agencies after each family's needs are identified. Every child accepted into the program receives free medical benefits. The child must have a thorough physical examination and a complete dental examination, as well as hearing and vision screening. Follow up and treatment are a part of the
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