The UAMS Head Start /Early Head Start Program firmly believes that the lives of young children and their families can be enriched and strengthened by the quality of the educational program provided to them. Head Start provides a safe and nurturing environment.
The quality of the program depends on several factors:
- Providing a safe and nurturing environment.
- Providing a developmentally appropriate curriculum that addresses all areas of development-social, emotional, cognitive and physical.
- Providing learning experiences within the context of children’s culture and community; and
- Working in partnership with parents to plan, implement and evaluate the educational experiences provided for children and families.
The UAMS Head Start/Early Head Start educational program is designed to meet each child’s individual needs within the context of his/her culture and community. Head Start experience has shown that the needs of children vary considerably from community to community. To serve these needs most effectively, programs must take into account community resources, the capabilities of local staff, as well as the developmental needs of the children served.
Learning activities and materials will be concrete, real and relevant to the lives of young children. Learning takes place as children touch, manipulate, experience their environment, and interact with people. Pictures and stories will also be used frequently to build upon the child’s real experiences.
Every child receives a variety of learning experiences to foster intellectual, physical , social and emotional growth , through a safe and healthy environment . The children at UAMS participate in indoor and outdoor activities and are introduced to skills and concepts through play. They are encouraged to express their feelings in appropriate ways, to develop self-confidence and self esteem, and to learn how to get along with others.
Curriculum (1304.3 (a) (5))
UAMS Head Start implements Creative Curriculum which is consistent with the Head Start Program Performance Standards including ACYF-IM-HS-00-18 (08/10/00) and is based on sound child development principles about how children grow and learn.
The objectives of the curriculum are to:
- Provide children with a learning environment and the varied experiences that help them develop socially, intellectually, physically, and emotionally in a manner appropriate to their age and stage of development toward the overall goal of social competence.
- Integrate the educational aspects of the various Head Start components in the daily program of experiences.
- Involve parents in educational activities of the program to enhance their role as the principle influence on the child’s education and development.
- Assist parents to increase knowledge, understanding, skills and experience in child growth and development.
- Identify and reinforce experiences that occur in the home that parents can utilize as educational activities for their children.
- Provide services that are multicultural and meet the special needs of all children.
- Creative Curriculum philosophy is that young children learn best by doing. Learning isn't just repeating what someone else says; it requires active thinking and experimenting to find out how things work and to learn firsthand about the world we live in.
Play provides the foundation for academic or "school" learning. It is the preparation children need before they learn highly abstract symbols such as letters (which are symbols for sounds) and numbers (which are symbols for number concepts). Play enables us to achieve the key goals of our early childhood curriculum. Play is the work of young children. Our classrooms are arranged for children to learn through play. Teachers set the stage for learning with a variety of learning props and materials.
What you will See In A Head Start UAMS Classroom
Head Start Performance Standards provides a framework or guide for teachers to follow to guarantee that all activities are appropriate for children. When you visit your child’s classroom, you should see the following activities:
- Lots of hands-on activities, such as blocks, clay, painting, cutting, gluing, puzzles, music, a variety of books , dramatic play, computers, etc. Young children learn best when allowed to explore and create
- Children being given opportunity to make choices. During free exploration/center time each child will be allowed to choose the timing and location of his/her activities. Children learn more when they have some choices in the activity. Our centers are labeled in Spanish and English. Children rotate to the centers of their choice with their individual name tag. Each child learning to check signs to see the number allowed in each center. If the center is full they choose another center.
- Subjects/Topics are taught using items that can be manipulated, such as blocks, counters, beads, cooking activities, graphing, science experiments, building etc.
- Children participating in circle activities as a group. These activities give the children opportunity to learn to function in a group, share ideas and beginning listening skills.
- Literacy throughout the learning centers
- Head Start is a child friendly environment that works on making the classroom a place for young children to learn and prepare for kindergarten. You will not see ditto worksheets in our rooms, we feel there are so many other positive ways to teach children. Children need to see, touch, feel and experience things in order to comprehend and learn.
Early Head Start Curriculum
The Early Head Start program utilizes the Creative Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers as a guide f or the classroom arrangement and routine planning. The curriculum outlines what children learn during the first three years , the experiences through which children achieve these learning goals, what staff and parents do to help children reach these goals , and materials needed to support the implementation of the curriculum. The program is individualized to meet the needs of every child. Each family’s culture is respected and family members are encouraged to participate in the program. The physical environment is safe , healthy, accessible, and contains a variety of toys and materials that support the curriculum and children choose from these activities. The activities promote hands on learning experiences for the children.
Head Start Child Outcomes Framework
The Head Start Child Outcomes Framework, released in 2000 , assists Head Start Programs in assessing and planning activities for children. Child Outcomes are skills that research indicates are important for preschool to obtain prior to entering kindergarten.
Head Start Child Outcomes Framework are:
- Language and Development
- Creative Arts
- Social and Emotional
- Approaches To Learning
- Physical Health and Development
Your child will be taught many different skills from these eight subject areas in the Head Start Performance Standards. UAMS teaching staff will monitor your child’s progress and report the results to you during home visits and parent teacher conferences throughout the year.