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Head Start plays a key role in preparing our children for school. Our teachers and classrooms, combined with supervised interaction with other children, help a growing child develop important social and emotional skills, as well as a healthy concept of their personal identity. We know that social and emotional well-being in early childhood predicts favorable social, behavioral, and academic adjustment into middle childhood and adolescence.
To prepare children for school, our teachers design curriculum that encourage individual development for each child in three key areas: language development, which is fundamental to learning; literacy skills that lay the foundation for reading and writing, as well as familiarizing our children with books and other learning tools; and mathematics knowledge and skills, including understanding numbers, shapes, measurement, patterns, and other traditional mathematical problems. We know that math skills developed during the early years help children to connect ideas, develop logical and abstract thinking, and to question, analyze, and understand the world around them.
Physical well-being, health and motor skill development in a child are critical to the success of any educational program. With this in mind our Head Start classrooms provide our children with the guidance to develop healthy habits that will support a lifelong foundation for a healthy life. We encourage play and exercise activities that develop strong motor skills so that Head Start children can explore and function in their environments, while they gain confidence in their physical abilities.
Head Start volunteers play a significant role in our classrooms by ensuring that each child receives the time and guidance necessary to become a well-adjusted and engaged student, ready to take the next step forward.
- In a recent study funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Head Start children performed better on cognitive, language, and health measures than their comparison-group counterparts.
- Head Start children have also been found to have higher achievement test scores, respond more favorably to grade repetitions, and graduate more often.
- Head Start children participate more fully in school and are less likely to be identified as children with serious academic problems than those not enrolled in early childhood education programs.
Information compiled from www.acf.hhs.gov.