5 Things to Know about Head Start
All parents want to provide the best opportunities for their children to learn, grow and thrive. This is especially true when it comes to education. No child should miss out on a quality education because of their family’s ability to pay.
That’s why One Hope United is pleased to offer Head Start or Early Head Start programing at four of our child care and early education centers. These programs combine quality child care and education with other programing and resources to help set every child up for success:
- Bridgeport Child Development Center I (Head Start, 3–5 years)
- Bridgeport Child Development Center II (Head Start, 3–5 years)
- Edgewater Early Learning Center (Head Start, 3–5 years)
- Waukegan Early Learning Center (Early Head Start, 0–2 years)
Not sure if your family is eligible? It’s easy to find out and One Hope United is here for you every step of the way.
Here are five things you should know about the Head Start Program at One Hope United:
1. Head Start Seeks to Give Every Child an Equal Chance
Head Start, a federally funded program, is designed to give every child equal access to the resources and support they need. Established in 1965 for low-income families, Head Start promotes school readiness for children ages birth to five. These programs enhance children’s social and cognitive development by offering children and their families educational, nutritional, health, social and other services.
The services Head Start provides are designed to set up children for success by the time they are ready to start kindergarten. One Hope United combines Head Start with child care assistance to provide a full day of early childhood care and education for families who are working or in school at a significantly reduced cost.
2. It’s Easy to Find Out if You Qualify for Head Start
There are four ways you and your child can qualify for Head Start:
- You meet the income qualifications, OR
- You receive public assistance, OR
- Your child is in foster care, OR
- You or your child lack permanent housing.
Families with children from birth to age five who meet specific criteria in any one of these four categories can receive Head Start or Early Head Start programming. Families receiving public assistance (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Supplemental Security Income), or families with low incomes, according to the Poverty Guidelines published by the Federal government, are eligible.
One Hope United has family support specialists to assist families with the eligibility process. Families can either call or walk-in to one of the Bridgeport, Edgewater or Waukegan centers with proof of income and the child’s birth certificate. They will then fill out an application (One Hope United can provide assistance) and complete an interview. The family will soon receive a notice about their child’s/children’s eligibility. The eligibility/enrollment process can be started at anytime during the year.
3. Parents Receive Support, Too!
All Head Start families have a family support specialist that they work with for as long as they participate in the program. Assistance in finding medical providers, mental health professionals, and nutrition counseling are just some of the services that are provided. Plus, families receive two home visits that serve as building blocks to establishing a positive relationship.
Many of One Hope United’s staff are bilingual. If there is a language barrier, One Hope United will provide translation support services. We want to clearly communicate with families so they understand the services they’re eligible for and feel comfortable with all we can provide.
4. Parents Are Part of Their Child’s Education
One Hope United families who are part of the Head Start program are actively involved with their child’s education by helping to set goals and determining how best to support their child.
Parents and One Hope United teachers and staff have at least two parent conferences a year where assessments are reviewed, strengths are determined and priorities are set for continued development.
5. We Offer Quality Education For All
One Hope United’s Head Start locations in Bridgeport and Edgewater are accredited by NAEYC (The National Association of Education of Young Children), a distinction held by only 6% of centers in the country. A NAEYC accredited center is one that is recognized as providing exceptional care and a variety of educational, developmental, and personal services. All preschool classrooms are led by a licensed teacher who is certified to teach up to the third grade.
The suburban Waukegan location is currently undergoing accreditation by NAEYC. This location offers Early Head Start services to low-income infants, toddlers and their families.
At One Hope United it is our vision to help every child, every family live a life without limits. If you feel limited by the specific circumstances that makes your family eligible for Head Start, please contact one of our centers today or use the form below.