You’re Never Too Young to Want to Be President

As Joe Biden was sworn in as the nation’s 46th president just before noon E.T. on Wednesday, January 20th, Ratchford B (Oneonta, AL) teacher Ashley Chumley led her Preschool Head Start class of three- and four-year-olds in a history lesson.

Children in Ashley Chumley’s Ratchford B classroom watch the Joe Biden inauguration ceremony

Ashley and teacher assistant Claudia Zamora led the students in conversations about being a President, such as where they live, some of the things they do as president, and how they keep us safe.

The children were shown photos of all presidents from past to present as well as an image the White House. Ashley reported that the children were visibly excited to be able to watch Mr. Biden become President while they watch. The children were asked to help make a list of what makes a good president:

Ratchford B children made a list of what traits help to make a good president

After the inauguration, the children were asked what would they do if they were President. Some answers included, “Go to Walmart and buy some flags,” “Dance with my dog,” and “Watch a big TV.”

Children shared what they would do if they were president through dictation and artwork

Families who are interested in applying for Ratchford Early Head Start (ages birth to 3) or Preschool Head Start (ages 3 to 5) may contact the center at (205) 625-6254, or visit us online at CAPNA Children’s Services.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (to Recruit)

The winter holiday season is for most a time spent with family, sharing home cooked meals, and shopping for gifts. For Head Start staff, it is also a time to connect with the community and recruit families for Early Head Start and Head Start.

Ft. Payne Head Start staff prepare to participate in the 2020 Ft. Payne Christmas parade

Center Director Theresa Dalton (Ft. Payne) and her staff participated in a Recruitment & Community Involvement event last December by entering a float in the Ft. Payne Christmas parade to get the word out to families that Head Start recruiting season lasts all year. As the parade moved through the downtown streets, members of the Ft. Payne team walked alongside their school bus-themed float and passed out recruitment flyers while others rode atop the float, throwing candy and greeting parade spectators from the DeKalb County town of about 14,000 people.

Center Director Theresa Dalton (front) and staff prepare to participate in the Ft. Payne Christmas parade

Families interested in Ft. Payne Early Head Start (ages birth to 3) or Preschool Head Start (ages 3 to 5) can call (256) 845-9176 for Preschool Head Start or (256) 845-5951 for Early Head Start, or visit us online to complete an application at CAPNA Children’s Services.

“Be the Light” Event Supports Moulton Head Start Families

Center Director Edie Dugger organizes home energy efficiency kits for distribution to families

Moulton Head Start rallied the community during their December Be the Light event as vital fire safety information, equipment, and assistance was shared with area families with low incomes.

Moulton Head Start Center Director Edie Dugger and Assistant Center Director Carolyn Brackin Orr sought and received support from community leaders to provide participating families with items such as high efficiency light bulbs, smoke detectors, power surge protectors, flashlights, and lamp.

Moulton Assistant Center Director Carolyn Brackin Orr prepares for the center’s Be the Light event

During the Be the Light event alone, more than 50 energy assistance applications were distributed to local families. Thanks to monetary contributions by local agencies, public and private businesses, multiple families received assistance with their utility bills. All families receiving assistance were screened for eligibility before being entered into a random drawing (excluding CAPNA employees).

A total of 46 smoke detectors were donated along with HOMEnergy efficiency kits from CAPNA, courtesy of TVA. The kits included energy efficiency tools such as weather stripping, switch plates, caulk, and other materials to help reduce energy consumption.

Moulton Head Start students show off their Fire Safety Manual coloring books during Fire Safety Week

In addition to the items distributed to families, Moulton Head Start students participated in fire safety activities that included materials donated from the local fire department. Thanks to the extensive community support, Moulton Head Start families are able to live a little safer and sleep a little warmer.

Families interested in applying for Moulton Head Start may contact the center at 256-974-0961 or by visiting https://capna.org/childrens-services/.

What 54 Means

For Head Start grantees, 54 is more than just another birthday

The number 54 can mean many things. In units of measurement, things can weigh 54 pounds, be 54 inches long, or last 54 days. A 17-foot Delta Expedition kayak weighs 54 pounds. Twice around the circumference of a bowling ball is 54 inches. And some consider 54 days the perfect amount of time before a trip to book a flight. But for those who are immersed in the Head Start world, 54 has an even more important meaning. On May 18, 2019, Head Start celebrated its 54th birthday.

The Partnership celebrated Head Start’s 54th birthday at multiple sites across the 16-county service area.

On May 18th, 1965, in the White House Rose Garden, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced to the nation the creation of Project Head Start. Since that date, more than 32 million children and their families have benefited from Head Start. Each child and family has a story. Each has experienced different outcomes. All have been prepared for school, work, and life, thanks to Head Start.

In the last 54 years, we have seen the birth of the internet, our first African-American president, the advent of electric cars, and so many more improvements on our daily lives. But none so impactful as the the quality of early childhood education provided by Head Start.

In addition to life and school preparedness, Head Start is also the nation’s laboratory for early learning innovation. Head Start offers a unique whole child/whole family program design coupled with a delivery system that includes local programs, national standards, monitoring, professional development, and family engagement. This has been the basis for many subsequent statewide and community initiatives.

National Head Start Association

According to the National Head Start Association, children are 93% less likely to become a statistic in the foster care system when they participate in Head Start as compared to not enrolling in an early childhood education (ECE) program. No other ECE program can make that claim. And Head Start’s outcomes last well beyond a child’s last day of Head Start enrollment. Compared with children who were cared for exclusively by parents during early childhood, the performance of Head Start children on cognitive and social-emotional measures in kindergarten exceeded those of their peers. Plus, children who had completed a Head Start program had fewer attention and behavior problems as their peers.

Children learning through play in an Early Head Start classroom

The Partnership’s early childhood programs include Early Head Start, Preschool Head Start, Pre-K, EHS Home Bound, First Teacher Home Visiting, and Child Care Partnerships. For program year 2018, more than 2,600 children and families received early childhood education services that included health and wellness screenings, developmental screenings, and family engagement opportunities in addition to the classroom education provided for enrolled children. Across six developmental domains (math, literacy, cognitive, language, physical, and social-emotional), children enrolled in Partnership programs exhibited an average of 23% gains in development from fall to spring.

Thanks to Head Start’s Learning Outcomes Framework and Program Performance Standards, children enrolled in Head Start benefit from one of the nation’s oldest and most successful early childhood programs in history. The War on Poverty continues. And so does the commitment of Head Start grantees across the nation to provide the highest quality early childhood education possible to help move children and families out of poverty for good.