Education Bug - a complete listing of educational resources

Follow EducationBug on Twitter

Head Start Program Review

Before you enroll your preschool-age child, it might be a good idea to do a Head Start program review on your local head start program to determine if your child will be a good fit for the program. In the U.S. governmental Head Start program review, new methods of running the program seem to be effective.

The United States Head Start program was first started in the middle of the 1960s. However, Head Start has seen some dramatic changes over the years to accommodate the needs of low-income children ages three to five. Head Start works by creating a health developmental environment for these children within certain low-income brackets that are getting ready for kindergarten. Some of the offered services included with each Head Start program often depend on the child and family's culture and experience. The idea behind the Head Start program is to influence all aspects of a child's development and learning process.

How Head Start Works:

The Head Start program is designed to benefit preschool students in education, health and social services, which are provided to them in this program,. The education includes preschool educational activities and support in addition to national standards to be met akin to all of the other de facto standards for U.S. preschools. Health services also include regular screenings, health check-ups and dental check-ups. There are also social services that are included with Head Start including providing family advocates that work directly with parents by assisting them to increase their access to community resources that are available for low-income families. The eligibility requirements mandate that the children enrolled in the Head Start program range from ages three to five years old. The other part of the eligibility is income. There are other factors like disabilities that might also play a role in the consideration factors for enrollment in Head Start. Most of the time, the eligibility is given to families that earn less than 130 percent of the federal poverty level. However, up to 10 percent of the enrollment can actually be to families of higher income or families that may be experiencing emergency situations. All of the Head Start programs are required to provide full services to children with disabilities totaling 10 percent of the total enrollment.

Head Start Statistics:

About $6.8 billion is spent each year in the Head Start program to provide these services to about 905,000 children located across the United States. There are about 1,604 Head Start programs operating within 48,000 classrooms throughout the country. Programs exist in every state and almost every county of those states. The average cost per child is $7,222. There are about 212,000 staff members and other paid personnel that help run the thousands of Head Start programs in the country. There are six times that amount in the number of volunteers. The majority of the students are in the four to five age bracket.

Head Start Program Review:

Most reports and reviews of the Head Start Program are quite mixed according to parental reviews and even official Head Start Program Review reports by the Department of Health and Human Services. While some studies having completed a Head Start program review are supportive, others are not. According to a recent 2011 report by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Head Start program examine the development and outcomes of the students in the Head Start programs. The students were divided into two age groups, 3-4 and 4-5. While the Head Start program appeared to have a positive impact on the students, there were really no significant differences in students that come out of the program early. The students at age four have even less social benefits that no longer put them ahead of other students by first grade. However, access to the program is likely to lead to improved parent-child relationships through the first grade. The findings resulted in the program also being potentially important for children's longer term development in life.

One of the best outcomes of the Head Start program review indicated that children from the Head Start program are significantly less likely to repeat a grade later on in school. However, there are some criticisms that resulted from the Head Start program review including plans to improve certain program services like serving children that are above and below that preschool age.

To learn more about the Head Start program in your area, speak to a representative to determine if you qualify for the progam and if it would be a good educational option for your preschooler.