Head Start & Early Head Start
Head Start and...Your Child...Your Family...Your Community
EightCAP, Inc. Head Start is a federally-funded program for children in Gratiot, Ionia, Isabella, and Montcalm counties.
Studies have shown that children in need often start school without the skills and confidence to keep up with their classmates. They fall behind and as the years pass their troubles are compounded, they do poorly or drop out of school entirely. Head Start’s goal is to close the gap, ensuring that children begin school as confident, healthy, and prepared students, increasing their chances of academic success.
Early Head Start is a child development program that is offered to pregnant women, infants, and toddlers under 3. There are two program options available for families, Center-Based or Home Based. Center-Based: Children attend the center four days per week, Tuesday thru Friday during the school year, and weekly home visits during the summer. Home-Based: families receive a weekly home visit and may attend playgroup twice per month.
Head Start preschools provide children with a safe environment, nutritious meals, health care, and the skills they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. Children attend early childhood centers four half days each week.
The Head Start program focuses on child development, family support, and medical and nutritional care of enrolled children. Both programs are free of charge to children whose family’s income falls within certain guidelines and to children with disabilities.
Though the young child is Head Start’s primary focus, the goals of the program do not end there. The mission of the Head Start program is to break the cycle of poverty and help families become and stay self-supporting. Parents, children, and the community all benefit when the family is stable and self-sufficient.
Head Start recognizes that the parent is the child’s first and most important teacher, as well as a valuable resource to the community. The program encourages parents to become involved in their child’s education by participating in home visits or volunteering in the Head Start center. Once a month, either socializations or parent meetings are offered to help parents.
Head Start is dedicated to strengthening families. Many times, lacking the basics such as food, shelter, or clothing makes it hard to be a nurturing family unit. While in Head Start, families learn to manage their own resources, accessing available community programs.
Head Start and caring parents make a wonderful partnership; however that is not always enough.
An African proverb states, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” Head Start and the children it serves depend upon community involvement. The community shows support in various ways, such as business partnerships with Head Start, donations of goods and services, and responding to fundraisers.
EightCAP, Inc. is a community action agency designed to help those in need in Gratiot, Isabella, Ionia, and Montcalm counties. EightCAP, Inc. also sponsors community programs to help families eliminate domestic violence; obtain education and training to enter the workforce; make homes more liveable and energy fit; and involve youth and senior citizens in meaningful activities.