Register now to give kids Head Start

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Semarje Hale pauses to pose at Head Start in Andalusia Monday.

To get a “head start” in the education process, student recruitment is now beginning for the program is a federally funded child development program that provides services to 3-to-5-year-old children of low-income families.

Known as Head Start, the program has locations in Andalusia, Opp and Florala. Enrollment priority is given to children from families meeting the federal poverty guidelines. Head Start also actively recruits and enrolls children with disabilities.

“Head Start is a great program because it combines all aspects of an early childhood program,” Andalusia’s center director, Denise Davis, said. “It covers their education, their physical well-being with dental and health screenings, and even parental support.”

Davis said only 20 slots will be available for the next school year.

“I have a lot of returning children and transfers from our early Head Start program,” she said. “What we teach in this program prepares students for kindergarten. Nowadays, the skills we think of like teaching letters, numbers and colors, students are expected to know. What they teach in kindergarten sounds like what we learned in second grade.”

In total, there are 60 students enrolled in the Andalusia program, and an additional 16 in the early head start program.

Enrollment recruitment is ongoing in all three locations; however, space is limited, Davis said.

EHS coordinator Melanie Hunt said recruitment for the 0-36-month program is also ongoing.

“These classes fill up fast, so if you’re interested in having your child attend the program, you should get your application and information in as soon as possible,” Davis said. “

At the time of making an application, one must also provide:

• a certified birth certificate;

• proof of income (taxes);

• Medicaid Card and proof of disability (if applicable); and,

• an up-to-date immunization record (Blue Card).

Additionally, a parent or a legal guardian is the only person who can make an application for the prospective student.

There is no charge for the program and students attend classes Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. on a calendar that follows the local school system. Breakfast, lunch and snack are served each day.

For more information, call Florala Head Start at 334-858-3060, Opp Head Start at 334-493-4451 or Andalusia Head Start at 334-881-0181.

For information on early Head Start, call Hunt at 222-1879.