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Head Start

SKCDC has operated the Head Start Program since its inception in 1965. Studies at that time showed that children from low income families were not entering school as prepared to learn as children from higher economic levels. Head Start was designed to offer high quality early childhood education, nutrition, health, and social services, along with a strong parent involvement component. Initially, the primary goal of the program was to increase social competence in preschool children. That goal has expanded to include more emphasis on a child's cognitive development especially in the areas of language and literacy.

Every Head Start program nationwide is guided by the federally mandated Performance Standards.

A comprehensive program for children, families, and communities, Head Start focuses on a number of content areas including:

Child Health and Development

Health services in Head Start consider the child’s total health status by assessing all aspects of growth and development. A health and diet history is completed for each child as well as data from physical and dental examinations. Immunization records are also an important part of each child’s health status. Each child’s growth is monitored and recorded on a regular basis and screenings are conducted for vision, hearing, and exposure to lead. Follow-up health services are provided. Parents who do not have a medical or dental home for their families are offered assistance to establish one.

The Early Care and Education Curriculum

Our Head Start classrooms use the Opening the World of Learning (OWL) curriculum. OWL is a comprehensive, integrated curriculum that supports developing language and early literacy skills through content rich in all domains of early learning. There are six units of study that include a variety of interesting topics including family and friends at the beginning of the program year. A later topic of study is wind and water. Our teachers participate in reflective supervision and practice based coaching to support their implementation of the OWL. We are very pleased with the results we have seen after our first year. The feedback we have received from parents and teachers is very positive and we believe it will strengthen our commitment to increase our children’s school readiness.

Child Nutrition

Child Nutrition is recognized as an important part of a child’s physical and cognitive development.  Children receive nutritious meals and snacks approved by the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program.  Nutrition education is an ongoing part of the classroom curriculum.  The Nutrition Specialist supports staff and families to address food related issues and provides training to encourage healthy food preparation and eating habits.

Child Mental Health

SKCDC contracts with a consultant for mental health services.  These services include training and technical assistance for employees, individualized services for children, and support services for families.


Disabilities services are offered in an inclusive setting.  Activities are designed to provide a range of developmentally appropriate learning experiences for children with differing abilities.  We provide child and family initiated learning experiences that are strength and need based.  A multi-disciplinary team approach (that includes parents and other family members) is used to deliver program services.  We provide the link between families and therapists while recognizing the range of interventions from very structured therapy sessions to the child-centered experiences of Head Start.  Combined, these experiences can significantly and positively impact a child’s development.  Staff recognize parent involvement as a key to the success of service provision.

Family Partnerships

Family Partnerships support parents to meet their own needs and goals and achieve their full potential.  Parents have the opportunity to assess their family’s strengths and needs, identify short and long term goals, and design a Family Partnership Plan to work toward those goals.  Relationships are built between staff and parents that foster trust, communication, and partnership.

Community Partnerships

Community Partnerships happen in a number of different ways and levels.  Head Start staff participate in community planning to help develop comprehensive systems / services for children and families.  Head Start works with community agencies to facilitate partnerships to enhance program services and effectively blend resources.  Developing both formal and informal networks and contacts with a wide range of community organizations such as physicians, clinics, dentists, and mental health providers ensures responsive community services are available when needed.


Families are responsible for transporting children to and from programs.  We assist families in accessing community based transportation services and financial supports.  Transportation stipends are also available for eligible families.

Program Governance

Program Governance is the responsibility of the Board of Directors, advised by the Policy Council, which is made up of Head Start / Early Head Start parents and community representatives.  The roles of the two bodies are defined in their bylaws and in SKCDC’s Management Plan.