For America's, nursery children in the ages of three years to five years and who belong to the low-income families, a complete services of progress including social services for their poor families is offered by a nationwide plan called Head Start. To meet particular requirements, about 1,400 community-based non-profit associations and school systems work out exclusive and novel programs. In 1965 the Head Start was started in the Office of Economic Opportunity and is now managed by the Administration for Children and Families.
The Head Start Program was formed on the basis that all children have certain needs which are common and that children belonging to low-income families, in general can profit from a complete program of development designed to meet those requirements. The Head Start method makes the following hypothesis: A child can gain from a complete, interdisciplinary plan to promote progress and development. As the family is the main power on the child's progress, the child's family, as well as the society, must be included in the program. The local people are given liberty to develop artistic program plans so long as the basic purpose, aim and principles of the complete program are retained. On the whole the aim of the Head Start Program is to bring about a superior degree of social ability in children belonging to low-income families. Social ability means the child's day-to-day efficiency in dealing with both the present-day situation and afterward tasks while in school and later in their lives. (Zill, 2003, p.2).
The bodily and mental health, dietary needs, interrelatedness of cognitive and academic growth as well as other factors are taken in to consideration by the social ability. Head Start goals and functioning standards provide for: improvement of the aptitude of the child and family to interact with one another and to another and growth of a sense of self-respect and confidence within the child and his family, establishment of patterns and prospects of victory for the child that will create an atmosphere of belief for current and future learning efforts and complete growth, improvement of the child's mental development and skills with particular interest to theoretical and communication skills, development of the family's approach toward future health care and physical aptitude, support for self-assurance, artlessness, inquisitiveness and self-control that will help the growth of the child's communal and emotional health, development of the child's health and physical skills, including suitable steps to correct present physical and mental problems to improve every child's access to a sufficient diet, to attain social ability. (Webster-Stratton; Reid; Hammond, 2001, p.285).
After the wants are ascertained, particular services are geared to each family. They are: family wants evaluation; enlistment and recruitment of children; society outreach; problem support and/or problem interference. Personal non-profit organizations or local public are given funds. The society must put in to twenty percent of the total cost of a Head Start. Head Start programs function in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories. The majority of the Head Start program's appropriation finances local Head Start projects. The balance is utilized for research, demonstration and evaluation activities to test ground-breaking program models and to assess program usefulness; necessary monitoring activities; and training and technical assistance to support local projects in meeting the Head Start Program Performance Standards and in sustaining and improving the quality of local programs. (Garces, et.al, 2002, p.1000).
Training is imparted to staff at all echelons and in all program subjects by Head Start. Professional and non-professional workforces are given the chance to go for academic degrees or certification in early childhood education by the Child Development Associate (CDA). A significant part of all Head Start programs are the volunteers. All kinds of people, like retired senior citizens, homemakers, parents of Head Start children, high school and college students, offered significant assistance to local Head Start programs. Support from volunteers came in the form of parent education, transportation, renovation of centers, instructing other volunteers and indoor creative play. A broad range of services to Head Start that includes the donation of classroom space, equipment for children with disabilities and educational materials are provided by approximately 1,315,000 individual volunteers and community organizations. Over 15.3 million children and their families are served by Head Start, since 1965. A chief function of Head Start is in concentrating attention on the significance of early childhood development. Following activities are also covered by the program: the expansion of state and local activities for children, child development and day care services, the design of training programs for those who staff such programs, and the range and quality of services offered to young children and their families. Parents are facilitated by Outreach and training activities to increase their knowledge of child development and their parenting skills. (Oden, et.al,.2000, p.1).
A rich, varied and exclusive Indian language, tradition and heritage are supported by American Indian Head Start. The programs promote integration of language and culture into the program goals and curriculum. In Head Start, more than 84 different Indian languages are spoken. The enrollment in FY 1997 includes 320 children in Parent Child Centers and 18,550 children in American Indian Head Start programs. Resources are provided to 7 Tribal Governments operating Early Childhood Centers that serve pregnant women, infants, and toddlers (age's birth to three years) and 4 Tribal Governments operating Parent Child Centers by the Head Start Bureau. Families living on the reservations are offered a broad array of services by these programs. Among the Indian Head Start programs, 83% are center-based services and 17% is attributed to both center-based and home-based choices. There are 919 classrooms and 487 centers in the Indian network. Head Start programs of American Indian and Native Alaskan are normally small and typically situated in isolated areas. To assist the changeover of Head Start children to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and public schools, the Navajo Nation possess a major grant from the Head Start Bureau. Crow Tribe, Seminole Tribe of Oklahoma and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians finance the other changeover proceedings. (Zill, 2003, p.3).
Migrant Head Start program services are similar to those of regular Head Start, but Migrant grantees alter technique to meet the certain needs of immigrant farm worker families. The Migrant Head Start program has an exclusive stress on serving babies and toddlers as well as nursery age children, so that they will not have to be cared for in the fields or left in the care of very young siblings while parents are working. In the Migrant centers, babies as young as 6 weeks old are taken care of. Both parents can work to increase their scanty earning from farm work as assistance is available to all pre-schoolers (inclusive of babies and toddlers). The Migrant Head Start families shift at least once within each 2-year period on the look out for farm work and earn more than half their yearly income from agricultural work. People who shift frequently are given preference. The families must also meet the yearly Head Start deficient income guidelines. (Garces, et.al, 2002, p.1001).
The necessity to develop a major review of the Head Start Program Performance Standards - key rules that establish the rules and principles for quality in Head Start programs nationwide was a cornerstone of the bipartisan 1994 legislation. The modified Head Start Program Performance Standards were developed based on interaction with Head Start and early childhood program practitioners, with the will of the Administration's reinvention goals. Excellent services for children, including babies and toddlers and their families are given by this new form. In the Federal Register it was printed as a final rule on November 5, 1996. The new rule incorporates new principles for babies and toddlers, include rising research knowledge and know-how of health professionals, improve the structure of the earlier standards for increased simplicity of use, and stress the value of association between Head Start programs and the broader community. (Webster-Stratton; Reid; Hammond, 2001, p.288).
Improvement of children's physical, communal, emotional and cognitive development; facilitating parents to be better caregivers of and teachers to their children; and help parents meet their own objectives, inclusive of financial independence, is the main idea of this program. Early Head Start programs provide services that are intended to support and react to the exclusive strengths and needs of each child and family. The services provided are excellent early education in and out of the home; home visits; parent teaching, inclusive of parent-child actions; complete health services, inclusive of services to women before, during and after pregnancy; nourishment; and case organization and peer support groups for parents. The Early Start concentrates on four keystones necessary to quality programs: family development, child development, and community building and staff development. Schemes for children and families must organize with local Head Start programs to guarantee stability of services. (Love, et al. 2002, p. 2).
Now let us have an understanding of the Head Start Program by analyzing it with the social…