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Old 05-10-2013, 02:04 PM   #11
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Head start in our area is majorly based on income and then social development. As a middle class family with normally developing children we don't qualify, but I would do it in a second if we did. I think it is a great program especially if you are looking for the social interaction. We have good schools and most of the head start classrooms are in the local daycare centers. Not much to lose if you apply and get in. If you don't like it then you can stop going.

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Old 05-10-2013, 02:13 PM   #12
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The only downside to it for me was the fact that it was 5 days a week with no part time option. And they had an attendance policy so if I decided not to bring DD we would have gotten kicked out. At that time I didn't need someone to watch her 5 days a week from 8-1 so we skipped it and just paid for pt care from another place and my family watched her the other days.
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:23 PM   #13
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I will be the odd one out and say I would not put mine in head start. I know someone who was a director of one and also was a supervisor in the one in our county. From what I heard, the kids were not well behaved at all and would often curse and have very bad behavior. DS1 feeds off other kids, and the worse they behave, the worse his behavior gets. I wouldn't want him to think that is how he should behave in a school setting. He went to a private Christian preschool 2 days a week for 2.5 hrs this year and he has loved it! His teacher is great and the kids are much more well behaved than what I saw and heard at head start. But the one in your area may be different.
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Old 05-10-2013, 04:10 PM   #14
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Re: Anybody use Headstart?

It really does vary area to area...we have two headstart centers in our town, one is absolutely horrible, the other so-so...my sister loves the one my niece goes to in a town 30 minutes from us, but quite frankly, I was not impressed when I went to visit & volunteer one day and she hasn't learned much in the 18 months she has been going there--she started when she turned three, and turned four in December...and she knows two letters, both of which are in her name, and she can only write one of those letters...she can count to ten, but can only identify the number one...she knows her 8 basic colors & three shapes (square, triangle, circle)...and that's it. Maybe I'm expecting too much...but for having 3 teachers to 12 kids, all of which are the same age as her (like seriously, they all have birthdays within a four month span), I would think she'd know a bit more.

The ones in our town are...meh. There are limited spots & you have to meet income qualifications AND test into the spots, kids with the worst delays and lowest incomes get in first, and after they're in, everyone else is wait listed. We're on the higher end of the qualifying income range, and were told when signing each of our kids up for the waiting list at age 3 with no delays that we pretty much had no chance of them getting in before kindergarten and to find another pre-k. There is a noticeable difference between the kids from headstart & other pre-k (and taught at home) when it comes to behavior & the level of education they're at when they start kindergarten, at least in our town. Most of the headstart kids have no concept whatsoever of how to follow rules, sit quietly and listen, that sort of thing...most of them are behind the private pre-k & home taught kids on education. Again, it all varies by area though. Most of the kids at our local headstarts are from families that just don't really care to take an active role in their kids' educations (or lives really) and they just see headstart as a free daycare...even if my kids needed "socialization skills", I would not want them learning them from the other kids at the headstart centers here.
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Old 05-10-2013, 04:23 PM   #15
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Super variable. I would ask to visit centers just like if you were looking at daycares. The basic policy will be the same but the people make all the difference!
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Old 05-10-2013, 04:26 PM   #16
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They can be a good center. They have good standards of education and care. They have a lot of available resources of all sorts, has been helpful for us.
It is all based upon priority of need. Depending on your income, you may have to pay a portion or it may be free.
I have personally had a lot of issues with my kids there, ones that are worst case scenario really. All three of my kids have/do attend. It does please me that they have such a place to go instead of being with me 24/7 (they go part day, I am so burned out and really needed it.)
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Old 05-10-2013, 08:53 PM   #17
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Re: Anybody use Headstart?

Keep in mind that headstart is for low income families and statistically children who come from low income families lack a lot whether its food, education, oppurtunity, etc. That's what headstart does for kids. I'm definitely not saying there aren't some bad ones, but there are also bad Christian daycares/schools, bad regular day cares, bad at home day cares, bad high end day cares...its par for the course. Also keep in mind just because one person says a place is bad doesn't necessarily mean its bad.
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:24 AM   #18
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Re: Anybody use Headstart?

Check out the headstart in YOUR area and judge for yourself, they're all different I agree on the Christian daycare/schools thing too...you couldn't pay me to put my kids in the church-ran daycares or schools around here, but we absolutely adore our (considered to be) low-income public school in our neighborhood. Our low-income school has better staff to student ratios, better test scores, and better curriculum opportunities than the schools that cost a small fortune to send your kids to, but a lot of people around here don't send their kids to the public school because its a "poor" school, and they assume because they're paying for a Christian education that their kids are getting a better education. What matters is that YOU are happy with the place your child is attending, and if you like it & your child does well there, go for it
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