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Head Start history lessonPosted Wednesday, January 23, 2013, at 9:59 AM
Before our blog gets under way I thought I should explain to everyone how Head Start began. In January 964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared "The War on Poverty" in his State of the Union speech. The War on Poverty program was led by Sargent Shriver, who Johnson appointed personally. In November 1964, Lyndon Johnson was elected President, and him and Shriver assembled a committee of academic and civil rights activists (Kagan, 2002).
Among these academics was Dr. Robert Cooke, who was a pediatrician at John Hopkins University. Dr. Cooke was asked by Mr. Shriver to gather a committee of the best specialists in all fields involving children (http://www.ilheadstart.org).
In January 1965, the committee gathers at the White House, led by President Lyndon B. Johnson, Sargent Shriver, and Dr. Robert Cooke (http://www.ilheadstart.org) . A group of sociologists, psychologists, and pediatricians began discussions of a design that intended to assist children overcome setbacks or obstacles caused by poverty. The name of this project was tossed around with "Kiddie Corps" and "Baby Corps" surfacing (some hoped the word "corps" would entail political activism), however, the name Head Start was chosen by academics who understood the achievement gap and that middle class students get ahead of their lower class peers (Kagan, 2002).
The Head Start program provides Federal grants to local public and private non-profit and for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families, with a special focus on helping preschoolers develop the early reading and math skills they need to be successful in school.
In FY 1995, the Early Head Start program was established to serve children from birth to 3 years of age in recognition of the mounting evidence that the earliest years matter a great deal to children's growth and development.
Head Start programs promote school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families. They engage parents in their children's learning and help them in making progress toward their educational, literacy and employment goals. Significant emphasis is placed on the involvement of parents in the administration of local Head Start programs
The Pace Community Action Agency, Inc. provides two options of Head Start services in Greene County. We have center base sites located in Linton and Eastern, where the children attend four days a week, Monday through Thursday. We also provide a Home Based option where a qualified Home Visitor goes into the home once a week to work with parent and child to prepare them for kindergarten. The children enrolled in the Home Based option also have the opportunity to attend socialization in the center base setting twice a month.
In future blogs I will be focusing on what the children are studying and learning, special happenings within the community, and some special Early Childhood Education articles.
If anyone is interested in learning more about the Head Start program please feel free to contact me at (812) 847-2237.
Portia is the Head Start Manager and can be reached by telephone at 847-2237 or 798-7057, or by fax at 847-2978
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