Head Start Program in Northern Kentucky
If you are familiar with our local public education system, government assistance, or even child care providers, chances are you’ve at least heard about the Head Start Program in Northern Kentucky. Simply put, it’s an early education program meant for preschool children of low-income families. And it may make all the difference in the world for a community.
Head Start is a comprehensive early childhood education program that was established in 1965 to provide services to preschool children of low-income families. The program is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture, private grants and donations.
Since 1965, thousands of three and four year old children and their families have received services through Head Start. Northern Kentucky Community Action’s Head Start Program is currently located in Campbell, Kenton, Boone and Pendleton Counties. We have 20 classrooms and serve 444 children. Over the years Head Start has become an established program that continues to grow in response to the needs of the community by offering a number of comprehensive services to meet the needs of preschool age children from economically disadvantaged families and/or children with disabilities.
I know a local teacher and I’ve heard and seen first hand about some of the struggles she deals with on a daily basis. And all I can think is: Thank God she’s there for them because a lot of them have no one else who cares.
No matter your thought on government programs in general, I do believe that the Head Start Program is making a difference, at least in the lives I have seen. While it’s mainly an education program, they also cover other areas such as health & nutrition, parent education/involvement, and social services.
Head Start children and their families can count on these services:
- Individual teaching and educational opportunities
- Speech, language and hearing screening
- Health care promotion
- Social services
- Mental health services
- Services for children with special needs
- Nutritious snacks and meals
- Dental checks
- Parent involvement opportunities
- Leadership development and training opportunities
- Kindergarden readiness
It could be as simple as getting kids who are low-income level ready for school. Give them a “head start” on things like colors, numbers, letters, etc. And it is! But they also work on other things like how to handle scissors, identify and write their name, how to care for their teeth, etc. They are also provided with meals and snacks since their family is likely on government assistance.
But the teachers also meet with the parents or caregivers, not only to help them learn how to help their child but they offer other lessons like meal prep, saving money, setting schedules and more. Then there’s also the health screenings such as dental and mental health checks.
Head Start Program in Northern Kentucky probably sounds great, right? It is, but it’s not fully funded; in fact, there’s a gap between the budget they need just to keep the doors open and the supplies the instructors need to really help their kids and families. Whether you can donate food, supplies, time or money, every little bit will help.