The local Head Start pre-school program will host an open house Tuesday, Oct. 29, from 1-2:30 p.m. at the College of Southern Idaho campus, 1050 Fox Acres Road, in Hailey.
The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
Head Start is a comprehensive, federally funded program that provides academic learning, nutritious meals, family needs-assessments and cognitive-development services for kids ages 3 to 4. Headstart is free for families that qualify, based on their level of income.
“We are always recruiting more families.”
Head Start supervisor
Head Start partners with the Blaine County School District, which also has several free pre-school programs. Head Start provides a free alternative to private pre-school programs.
“This will be an opportunity to ask questions and tour the Head Start center,” said Susan Brown, the Head Start center supervisor. “The open house is held during class time so parents and community members can see the teachers interacting with children during pre-school.”
The open house will begin with “circle time,” when kids check in with teachers and one another for the day, followed by meal time and playground recess.
Brown said the Head Start program provides help with applications for Medicaid, which can provide free medical and dental care for qualifying families. Regular hours at the center run from 1-4:30 p.m., allowing parents to work or go to school. Families with a household size of four must earn no more than $23,050 per year in order to qualify for Idaho Head Start. Children with disabilities in higher-income families can also qualify for the program.
Brown said the local Head Start program is currently fully enrolled with 20 children, with eight people on a waiting list. She said 34 children were enrolled two years ago.
Brown said Head Start funding was reduced 5 percent this year.
“We are always recruiting more families,” Brown said. “If someone leaves, we have only 72 hours to fill the position, and the waiting list is based on highest needs, rather than first-come first-served.”
Brown said Head Start depends a lot on community support, including volunteers, and donations of art supplies, books or other materials.
Head Start was established during the 1950s as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty” campaign.
For more information about how to apply, go to: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/HeadStartOffices.