Under the planned White House sequestration, Head Start and Early Head Start services would eliminated for 2,300 children. The cuts would prove devastating for hundreds of parents utilizing Head Start services. Head Start was designed to help children obtain the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for success in school and later in life and provides “school readiness” goals for children birth to age five implemented through comprehensive services consisting of nutrition, health screening, healthcare and social services.
Head Start focuses on building on the five domains of development and early learning, which consist of (1) language and literacy development, (2) cognition and general knowledge, (3) approaches toward learning, ((4) physical well-being and motor development, and (5) social and emotional development. Head Start programs must address these areas of these domains as required by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Programs serving children birth-to-three are expected to support the Head Start Child development and early Learning Framework (HSCDELF) around these five domains. However, the Head Start programs that provide birth-to-five services are not expected to have the same school readiness programs goals for birth-to-three and preschool-age children. The programs used to measure children’s progress consist of two levels: The first level is the individual child; the second, program-wide.
While Head Start focuses on the five domains, the program also emphasizes the value of family literacy. Parents can help develop language and literacy skills by reading bedtime stories, discussing the news, or explaining how a meal is prepared.
The results of family involvement show that children in supportive home learning environments have an increased level of literacy development, improved peer interactions, fewer behavior problems, and more motivation and persistence during learning activities.