Head Start/Early Head Start programs and services are comprehensive and address the following areas:
- Mental Health
- Parent Involvement
- Social Services/Family Development
- Child Care Partnerships
- LIMITED Transportation
Head Start/ Early Start
Alta Head Start/ Early Head Start offers quality educational programs in a nurturing, secure and developmental appropriate setting for children birth to five. Qualified, credentialed teachers who are trained in best practice academic and social- emotional standards, as well as other trained support staff, provide children a preschool experience focused on school readiness skill development. Children qualify for services based on federal income guidelines.
Our staff and classroom settings meet all Head Start Federal Performance Standards, Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Child Care licensing regulations and Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) Star Rating requirements.
The Alta Head Start program goes above and beyond the National Head Start requirements for Teacher qualifications by employing a large majority of Lead Teachers with Bachelor’s Degrees in Early Childhood Education. Every Teacher Assistant has, at a minimum, a Child Development Associate (CDA). In addition, the majority of our Lead Teachers hold and maintain a Resident Educator’s license for the state of Ohio. Having these highly qualified and highly skilled Teachers and Teacher Assistants has helped ensure Alta Head Start maintains CLASS scores above the national average for all categories.
A variety of educational settings are available to meet the specific needs of young children and their families:
- Center-based Services
Center-based classrooms are located throughout Mahoning County, providing convenient neighborhood access.
- Full-Day Classes (Head Start and Early Head Start Programs)
Provide services Monday through Friday with flexible daytime hours to accommodate parents’ needs (family situations, parents’ work and/or school schedules).
- Part-Day (Head Start Program)
Provides half-day sessions available mornings or afternoons, Monday through Thursday for 3½ hours per day.
- Home-based Option (Early Head Start Program)
Provides comprehensive in-home services for children birth to three and their parents with a minimum of two visits per month. Benefits include activities and materials to help make the home a learning environment.
- Pregnant Women Program
Provides comprehensive in-home services to support and prepare expectant moms and significant family members for the baby’s arrival. Once the baby is born, enrollment in Early Head Start center or home based options is arranged.
No child will be excluded from the Alta Head Start/Early Head Start program because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin or special-needs condition. No fee is charged for Head Start/Early Head Start services.
Home Visits by Teachers and Parent/Teacher Conferences
Head Start teachers participate in home visits with their students’ families — one at the beginning of the school year and one toward the end of the year. During these visits, teachers will get to know the families and help them understand classroom expectations.
Parent/Teacher Conferences are also scheduled twice a year — once during the winter and once in the spring for Head Start and Early Head Start classes. At these conferences, teachers discuss the child’s progress in key areas such as behavior, language and learning skills, and school readiness.
Each child is also assigned a Family Advocate, who serves as the family connection to Head Start/Early Head Start services. Family Advocates meet with the family at least two times during the school year to learn about the child and his/her family through completion of the Family Partnership Agreement, They are always available to answer question or provide needed support to parents/guardians.
As per our mission, Alta Head Start/Early Head Start will make every effort to ensure “reasonable accommodation in providing comprehensive, individualized child development services to eligible, professionally diagnosed children with disabilities.”
Head Start/Early Head Start has established collaborative agreements with the Youngstown Board of Education and the Mahoning County Educational Service Center. The collaboration agreement is to ensure that early identification is made through evaluation of children suspected of having a disability. Ongoing support, as needed, is provided by the Disabilities Manager.
Alta Head Start/Early Head Start views mealtime as an opportunity for learning. Therefore, under the direction of a licensed dietitian, we provide an environment for enhanced nutritional services.
Our program serves hot, nutritious meals to all children enrolled for care. We participate in the Ohio Child and Adult Care Feeding Program, which helps childcare sponsors serve nutritious meals by providing funds to supplement food costs.
All Head Start children receive at least two meals a day: breakfast and lunch, or lunch and a snack. As required by USDA Standards, these meals will provide a minimum of ⅓ of their daily nutritional needs. Children in the Full-Day Head Start/Early Head Start classroom will receive breakfast, lunch and a snack daily (meeting ⅔ of their nutritional needs). To assist parents in planning nutritional meals, children receive menus to take home.
Every one of our Alta Head Start/Early Head Start Learning Centers has exciting new technology available to foster cooperative and individual learning activities.
The Engage-2 is a Tablet PC table that promotes collaborative interaction between up to three children. Each is equipped with with age-appropriate software to promote school readiness skill development. Head Start teachers use the Engage-2 for social-emotional coaching with the children in small-group play, and to augment their circletime activities, allowing children to experience technology in a classroom group setting.
Each child in Alta Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms also has access to a Hatch tablet for individual activities. This tablet is tied in to teachers’ desktop computer stations and has printing capabilities, to familiarize children with another mode of often-used technology.
Students play fun and educational games that help improve critical kindergarten readiness skills, including phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge, language development, numeric operations, and logic/reasoning.