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Capital Area Head Start Service Spotlight Archive

March 5, 2012

Pre-K Counts

Preschool not only prepares children for kindergarten, but also sets them up for success later on in their academic careers. Capital Area Head Start began operating Pre-K Counts on July 1, 2011 for the Harrisburg School District, with preschool classrooms at Ben Franklin, Melrose, Downey, Camp Curtin and Scott schools.

Children attend preschool during the school year from August to June, five days per week for five hours each day. All of our Pre-K Counts teachers have a Pennsylvania teaching certificate in early childhood education, and class sizes are small, with a maximum of sixteen children, so each child receives the attention he or she needs to be successful. In addition to math, language and literacy, children learn important social and emotional skills to help them be successful once they transition to kindergarten.

In January, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning completed an audit of the Pre-K Counts program. Over several days, a program specialist reviewed documents, observed classrooms and spoke with our staff. The audit included a variety of criteria, such as regulatory requirements, fiscal responsibilities, enrollment and attendance, screening and assessment, professional development and classroom design. We are happy to report that we received a perfect score for our first full year of operation!

Enrollment for the 2012-2013 school year is now open. Give your child a head start and call us today at 717-541-1795 to apply.

Learn more about Head Start.

Early Head Start

In 2002, we began providing Early Head Start services. Through home-based and center-based programming, CAHS provides comprehensive child and family development services for low-income pregnant women and families with infants and toddlers ages birth to three years. Early Head Start programs provide early, continuous, intensive and comprehensive child development and family support services all year round. The program enhances children's physical, social, emotional and intellectual development, supports parents' efforts to fulfill their parental role and helps parents become more self-sufficient.

Through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), the Office of Head Start significantly expanded Early Head Start services. CAHS was able to double our Early Head Start services with this two year expansion grant. On April 15, 2011, President Obama signed a bill to continue funding through ARRA, and we are looking forward to further enhancing our Early Head Start services.

Celebrating Our Successes One Family at a Time

One of the families in our Early Head Start program moved here from Egypt less than a year ago. Since the CAHS home visitor began working with them, both parents have found jobs and began ESL classes. The home visitor has also helped them apply to the Childcare Network for a subsidy to help with child care costs.

A teenage mother and her two-year-old daughter called CAHS and asked the home visitor for advice because her daughter would not stop pestering their kitten. After listening to the advice of the home visitor, the mother was able to model the appropriate way to pet the kitten and redirect her daughter to do the desired behavior. With more support and encouragement from the home visitor, this teenage mother has applied to the local community college.

With the support of her home visitor, a young mother with four-year-old twins and an 11-month-old child has found employment and is receiving funding from the Childcare Network. When this family started in the Early Head Start program, the baby, who was premature and has developmental concerns, spent most of her time in a bouncy seat. The mother said that she did not realize how much learning occurs at this early age and how much young children can understand and absorb. With the advice of her home visitor, the mother has spent more time talking and reading with her baby, and she began giving her child "tummy time," floor time on her stomach to strengthen her muscles. Today, the baby is not only sitting up, but is also pulling herself up and beginning to crawl! The mother recently watched a show about the importance of quality early childhood education, and she said that Early Head Start "is a god program. I hope they don't mess with it!"

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