Overview of Head Start and Early Head Start

SCMCAA Head Start is a federally funded program, through the grantee agency, South Central Missouri Community Action Agency, and serves 759 children and families in a seven county area.

Head Start Policies


Curriculum, Screening, Assessment
The Creative Curriculum is the research based curriculum utilized in all SCMCAA Head Start classrooms. All learning environments are established according to Creative Curriculum, in order to enhance the learning process for all children. Interest areas are developed and materials provided in each area that are age and developmentally appropriate. Early Head Startteachers use theCreative Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers and Twos and Head Start teachers use theCreative Curriculum for Preschool. Children are screened within 45 days of entry into the program. Any child who has a delay on their screening results is referred to the appropriate agencies for evaluation. TheCreative Curriculum Continuumis used as the ongoing assessment tool.
For the preschool program there is one teacher, one teacher aide and one class aide in each classroom with a minimum of 17 children and a maximum of 20. In Early Head Start, there are 8 children per room with two teachers and one class aide.

Attendance Policy
Children must maintain at least 85% attendance at Head Start. If their attendance falls below 85% without well-documented reasons, their slot may be replaced.

SCMCAA Head Start is required to enroll at least 10% children with disabilities. Every effort is made to recruit children with disabilities. The classrooms are modified and accommodations are made when necessary to enable all children to participate in Head Start.

SCMCAA Head Start and Early Head Start participate in theMissouri Child and Adult Care Food program*, which provides all meals and snacks to enrolled children, including infants, free of charge. Children in full day programs receive breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack. Children in morning half day programs receive breakfast and lunch. Children in afternoon half day programs receive lunch and afternoon snack. Meals served are high in nutrients and low in salt, fat, and sugar. Menus are planned in advance with the input of parents, staff, and a registered dietitian. All special dietary needs are accommodated with proper documentation.

Infants are fed on an individual meal schedule based on information gathered from parent or guardian. Breast milk is encouraged, and a place is available at the center for any mother wishing to breast feed or express milk for her child. Center staff will never lay a child down with a bottle.

*In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer

SCMCAA is dedicated to providing prompt and safe transportation to as many Head Start children as possible, within allowable limits . The buses provided meet or exceed all safety standards set forth by the state of Missouri. Each passenger is provided with an additional child restraint system that keeps all of our children safe and comfortable. The bus drivers and monitors are all trained to provide a safe and learning environment, since the time on the bus is an extension of our classrooms.

Professional Development
All Head Start teaching staff possess a minimum of an AA degree in early childhood or a related area.All classroom staff must obtain a CDA credential. Staff receive a minimum of 15 clock hours of in-service training each year to enhance their work with young children.

SCMCAA Head Start provides a variety of training opportunities for staff and parents, addressing a wide range of topics. This is done through in-service training, workshops and CDA classes. In-Service training is provided throughout the year in accordance with Head Start Performance Standards and Day Care Licensing. A list of dates and times of in-services are available at each center. SCMCAA Head Start provides CDA Training (Child Development Associate Credential) to parents and staff at no cost. The center-based CDA credential is available in an Infant/Toddler or Preschool endorsement. The CDA Competency Standards and assessment process for center based child care providers and parents define, evaluate, and recognize the skills needed both to manage a well-run program and to meet the developmental needs of infants, toddlers and preschoolers. A list of dates and times of CDA classes are available at each center.

Head Start's commitment to wellness embraces a comprehensive vision of health for children, families, and staff.  The objective of Child Health and Development Services is to ensure that all child health, development, and oral health concerns are identified, and children and families are linked to an ongoing source of continuous, accessible care to meet their basic health needs.

Sick Child Policy
All children will be observed for illness and disease upon arrival and throughout the day.  We follow the Missouri Licensing Rules for Child Day Care Centers for policies concerning illness and disease.

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