As of 2011, over one million children have been enrolled in the government-funded early childhood Head Start program. What began as part of President Lyndon B Johnson’s Great Society campaign that sought to eliminate poverty and racial injustice, the Head Start program “promotes the school readiness of young children from low-income families through agencies in their local community.” As further explained by the program’s official website, the Head Start and Early Head Start programs support the development of children up until the age of 5; in centers, child care partner locations, and in their own homes. Of the many responsibilities of the Head Start program, the program aims to provide early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and families.
A large part of making this entire program come together relies on the help of countless Management Analysts that coordinate training and education programs for teachers and staff. In order to ensure that standards for the program are met, teachers and staff are required to take part in training sessions prior to starting with the Head Start program. The sessions are offered throughout the month, but vary in location due to the multiple districts the program covers. In addition to coordinating these training sessions, Head Start is also responsible for coordinating care services throughout the duration of a family’s involvement with the program. Social Workers will regularly make home visits to assess the specific needs of a child and their respected family. These visits, which are more commonly known as ‘case studies’, are arranged throughout the month in accordance with any parenting or counseling classes the Social Worker deems necessary. It’s the responsibility of the department’s Management Analyst to guarantee that training events and case studies are arranged accordingly, with a sufficient number of events available on a month-to-month basis.
You may expect that branches keep track of these events with the help of electronic files and project management software, but as it turns out, that’s much easier said than done. After speaking with a Management Analyst that’s been invested in the program for over a decade, we found out that new policy standards mandate reviews for both teachers and principals in the program must be done on a more refined basis.
The updated policy standards are designed to reflect best practices and latest research on early childhood development and brain science—which also brings along an increase in government funding. The only issue is that with standards heightened to increase the quality of the program, more hours are required for Management Analysts to accurately coordinate events across the multiple districts they serve. If the standards are not met in accordance with the new policies, the program can lose funding for the duration of the program year. Continue reading How The Head Start Program Is Helping Young Children Grow