What is Head Start?
The mission of Chesterfield’s Head Start program is to provide a wide range of quality services to enrolled children and their families empowering them to foster positive relationships between home, school and the larger community so that they may thrive in their efforts to meet the challenges of everyday life in a changing society.
Here are Head Start’s guiding principles:
- Children are unique individuals who deserve nurturing, education and support to develop to their fullest potential.
- Families are the primary educators and role models for their children.
- All information regarding children, families and staff members is treated as confidential at all times.
- The cultural backgrounds and heritages of family and staff members are recognized and respected.
- Effective partnerships are nurtured and all available resources used.
- Staff members and families work as a team to accomplish goals.
Head Start provides a comprehensive, individualized, developmentally appropriate preschool education program using HighScope and Houghton Mifflin curriculums, which are environmentally based and focus on the development of the whole child while respecting the ethnic and cultural backgrounds of each child.
Child Health, Nutrition and Safety
Head Start embraces a comprehensive vision of health for children, families and staff members and emphasizes prevention and early intervention of health concerns that may affect child development. Every family is provided support and guidance to obtain annual well-child examinations and regular dental care. Health insurance information is provided to every uninsured family.
Head Start emphasizes the importance of good nutrition, promoting child wellness by providing nutrition services that supplement and complement the home and community. These services help families establish good eating habits that nurture healthy development. Head Start provides nutritious meals and snacks each day, as well as informative opportunities for parents and staff members.
Head Start embraces a vision of mental wellness for each child and his or her family. The program builds relationships among children, families, staff members and mental health specialists to improve awareness and understanding of mental wellness. Head Start contracts with Chesterfield’s Community Services Board, which provides a team of prevention specialists who conduct formal classroom behavior observations of all students. The prevention specialists help teachers develop behavior plans for students and offer training for staff members and parents on topics related to mental and emotional well-being, child development and behavior management.
Family and Community Partnerships
Parent involvement and community resources are vital components of Head Start. This includes the recruitment, selection and enrollment process for the program, as well as the family and parent activities. The program offers parents opportunities and support for individual and family growth. The family and community partnerships manager and family service provider work with each family to identify strengths, needs and individual interests. The family service team coordinates holiday assistance, family focus night activities and annual family events. Specific resources and community referrals are provided for individual families. The family and community partnerships manager works with the Policy Council, made up of parents and guardians of Head Start children and community representatives. The Policy Council serves in a shared governance role with the Head Start management team and staff members. The goals are to support parents as their child’s first teacher, build trusting relationships among parents, staff members and the community and promote healthy development and school readiness in each child.
Head Start welcomes children with special needs and works closely with community agencies, Chesterfield County Public Schools Early Childhood Special Education team and special education staff members in each school to ensure that children with special needs receive a full range of developmental services. Head Start believes that a child with special needs can often learn more readily in a group of children with varying abilities than in a group designed specifically for children experiencing delays.
4003 Cogbill Road
Richmond, VA 23234