Federal Grant provides for extension of classroom hours for 192 preschool children in Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties in Pennsylvania.
(Harrisburg, PA, January 19, 2017)—Capital Area Head Start (CAHS) received a grant of $1.12 million to offer extended classroom hours for 192 preschool children.
Capital Area Head Start will almost double the hours of instructional time for current students, although this grant does not expand the number of students that are able to receive services. In fact, seven of the 22 CAHS locations in Dauphin, Cumberland, and Perry Counties will offer an extended day. This opportunity for extending the time students are in the classroom is the result of the facts represented in comments by Dr. Blanca Enriquez.
Enriquez served as Director at the Office of Head Start and previously reported that, “Strong and mounting evidence from research tells us that when children attend programs for more days and longer hours, they are better prepared for school and have improved outcomes. Receiving enough high-quality early learning experiences is particularly important to the success of the young children Head Start serves. Programs that run for fewer hours and fewer days may not have enough time to provide frequent intentional teaching in small groups and individualized instruction, or to provide necessary comprehensive services.”
Last April, the Federal Department of Health and Human Services announced that Congress had appropriated $294 in supplemental funding for existing Head Start programs through the nation to increase the number of hours and days of high-quality services offered to children enrolled. Of the $1.12 million allocated to Capital Area Head Start, $310,617 is a one-time grant for improving classroom space necessary for the expansion. The remainder of the grant monies recurs annually.
Several Capital Area Head Start locations offer both morning and afternoon classes, so to accommodate this expansion of time several additional classrooms and teachers will be needed. To address this shortage, Capital Area Head Start and Hamilton Health Center will collaborate on a newly constructed building on the Hamilton Health Center campus, which will house five of the extended day preschool classrooms. This mutually beneficial endeavor will provide new opportunities for the health center, as well as the children and families in the community.
Capital Area Head Start is a federally funded program of Keystone Human Services, headquartered in Harrisburg. Keystone Human Services is a large nonprofit organization serving the needs of those with intellectual disabilities, those experiencing mental illness, autism, children and family services, and Susquehanna Service Dogs.