2009-06-04 / Features

Head Start Encourages Students To Explore

Head Start students Kyle and Jasmine explore cause and effect and use their problem solving skills at the water table. Head Start students Kyle and Jasmine explore cause and effect and use their problem solving skills at the water table. This spring, students in the Bedford/Fulton Head Start Pre-K Counts classroom were put to the test to observe, explore, problem solve and become creative through various hands-on activities.

While attending five full days a week, students have enjoyed spending time at activity stations to actively apply skills they have learned. At the water table, they explored cause and effect and used problem-solving skills. Also, the class worked as a team to observe and document the growth of tadpoles to discuss the life cycle of frogs. Outside playtime was fun for all students where time was spent improving hand-eye coordination and balance through various exercises and activities.

The Fulton County classroom is a collaboration of Bedford/ Fulton Head Start, which is operated by Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries, the Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11 and is in partnership with Southern Fulton School District made possible through PA Pre-K Counts funding.

Head Start student Chloe shows persistence and coordination as she paints a picture using a paint brush taped to her fire hat. Head Start student Chloe shows persistence and coordination as she paints a picture using a paint brush taped to her fire hat. Head Start and Early Head Start provide families many opportunities to learn and interact together. Free educational, health, nutritional and family services are available to qualifying families. Programs are available to income eligible families/ children, and children with identified special needs may also be considered, regardless of income.

"Head Start allows children an opportunity for quality learning, allowing children to enter school ready to learn and prepared to achieve," reports Tonya Carson, Head Start director. "Studies show that this window of opportunity is brief; by age 5, 90 percent of the brain is developed. If a child enters kindergarten behind, he or she will most likely stay behind."

In Bedford County, the Head Start program has numerous partnerships, including the Tussey Mountain, Chestnut Ridge and Northern Bedford school districts for preschool programming. In addition to a partnership with the Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11 in Fulton County, Bedford/ Fulton County Head Start also partnerships with the Southern Fulton School District to provide preschool programming. Federal and state funds make these partnerships possible.

Early Head Start programming is also available in Bedford County. This familyfocused program offers free educational, health, nutritional and family services to help children have a better start on life through home visits and parent-child opportunities. The program is available for pregnant parents and parents of children ages birth through 3 years.

For more information about Bedford Fulton County Head Start or Bedford County Early Head Start, call 814- 624-3200 or 1-877-257-6543.

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