Here are some frequently asked questions about Champaign County Head Start.
Q. What would be included in a general daily routine for my child in Head Start?
A. Classroom time includes a large variety of activities. Often teachers begin the day with a circle time activity. They may also sing, dance, do finger plays, or have story time. They may have short lessons about studies they are doing. Children work individually, in small groups, and in large groups.
Q. Does Head Start accept children with disabilities or special needs?
A. Yes. The Head Start Act of 2007 requires that, “Not less than 10 percent of the total number of children actually enrolled by each Head Start agency and each delegate agency will be children with disabilities who are determined to be eligible for special education and related services.”
Q. What can Head Start offer my family?
A. Head Start offers the family a chance to be involved in activities and events to help your whole family. Parents and guardians can take training and classes on a variety of subjects, such as child rearing, parent education, health and nutrition, and making use of free resources in the local community. Families may get referrals to medical, dental, social welfare, mental health, or employment specialists in the community.
Q. Why do the children go out to play every day, even when the weather is cold?
A. Children need to develop their large muscles and skills through outdoor play. However, if the weather is extremely inclement, the children will stay in and do motor development activities in the classroom or multi-purpose room.
Q. My child was evaluated by the school district for speech concerns and did not qualify for school district services. I still have concerns. Is there anything I can do?
A. The school district can do another evaluation six months after the last evaluation if there are still concerns. In the meantime, children may receive extra help in the Head Start class in which they are enrolled.
Q. Will my child learn to read in Head Start?
A. We give children several opportunities to gain “pre-reading” skills. They have activities where they learn to recognize their name and identify letters. As their skills progress they will be given opportunities to develop reading skills.
Q. May I bring my other children with me when I visit my child’s classroom?
A. Although we love children and families, when you visit in the classroom, it is a special time to focus exclusively on your Head Start child.
Q. I have a responsible 12-year-old child. Since I am not able to volunteer in the classroom, may he/she volunteer?
A. Older siblings, who are volunteering in the classroom in place of a parent, must be at least 16 years of age and have advance permission from the teacher.
Q. What is the purpose of assessments?
A. Assessment of each child assists teachers in planning activities the children are interested in, in recognizing each child’s current strengths and reinforcing them, and in providing children with opportunities to gain new skills.
Q. My child’s class starts at 8:00 am, and my other children have to be at school at 7:45am. Is it okay to drop my Head Start child off at 7:30am?
A. No. Although we try to be as flexible as possible, we have to be very strict with our class times. Teachers use the time before and after class to prepare for the day.
Q. What is Early Head Start?
A. Early Head Start is a prenatal to age three, infant-toddler program for low-income families designed to nurture and support parents and children by building on families’ strengths.
Q. What do services to pregnant women include?
A. Early Head Start offers supportive services as early in life as possible. Our program provides services to pregnant women and their families and through the child’s first three years of life until they are ready to transition to Head Start or another pre-k program.