What Is Early Childhood Education?
Early Childhood Education programs provide quality comprehensive services to 236 preschool children and their families. The Early Childhood Education programs are funded with both federal and state monies and provide these services at no cost to eligible families.
The Early Childhood Education programs have families in most of the 11 school districts. There are classrooms in Berlin, Confluence, Eagle View, Kantner, Maple Ridge, Meyersdale, Salisbury, Shade.
What does comprehensive services mean? The best way to look at the Early Childhood Education programs is to look at its different components or parts. It is like the parts of a puzzle that need to fit together to give the whole picture.
Head Start Mission Statement
Somerset County Head Start supports the school readiness development of young children, including those with special needs, and the progress of their families by promoting the self sufficiency of low income families through education and interactive partnerships.
Early Childhood Education Department School Readiness Philosophy Rev. April 2015
It is the philosophy of our Early Childhood Education Department that School Readiness Goals are now and always have been an integral part of our program’s daily operations. It is our belief that the way to prepare a child for school entry is to first look at the whole child. We also believe that a child will be better prepared to enter school when we enlist the cooperation of the child’s family. This is done with the understanding that when a child’s basic needs are taken care of, he or she feels safe and secure and is in good health this objective is more easily met.
Our program provides a strong educational foundation that promotes school readiness by focusing on the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework. This foundation includes the essential domains of cognition and general knowledge, physical health and development, social and emotional development, language and literacy and approaches to learning. The way in which we reach these goals is to individualize our activities for each child. Our staff incorporates the child’s interests, input from the family and information gained from assessing children when developing Individual School Readiness Plans. The information that has been gathered is then used for daily lesson planning.
Our classroom environment is also specifically set up to enhance school readiness goals. Our classrooms are print and literacy rich. We provide numeracy and other mathematical activities throughout the entire day. Opportunities to investigate the world, problem solve, create and be physically active are also part of each day’s routine. Creative Curriculum’s Teaching Strategies, Incredible Years, Handwriting Without Tears, I Am Moving I Am Learning and Color Me Healthy are the tools used by the staff to plan and implement appropriate daily activities.
Early Head Start home visits are designed to incorporate these same principals in the family’s home environment with special emphasis on emotional security and trust. The role of the home visitor is to facilitate the education of the family as the child’s first teacher. The curriculum used by the home visiting staff is Partners for a Healthy Baby. This is a relationship based curriculum. Our intent is to build trusting, secure relationships with both the families and the children we serve.
We believe children who are given all of these tools, feel secure in their environment and have families that are involved and informed are well on their way to a successful educational experience. The work we do with children and families also impacts our community as a whole. We strive to connect our families with medical homes, Early Intervention, social service programs, education and employment opportunities. We also seek out any other services available that will help the families succeed and excel in their community and their daily lives.