Getting a Head Start Helps Children Succeed
In his remarks supporting early childhood education at a recent Fairfax Futures event, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine said that eight percent of Virginia’s 4 year-olds are currently enrolled in Head Start, a federal program that has almost 2,000 participants in Fairfax County. October is national Head Start Awareness Month, and will be recognized by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at their October 15 meeting. The Fairfax County Office for Children administers the Head Start program in Fairfax County.
“Research shows that one of the most powerful things you can do if you want to help kids be successful early is high-quality early childhood education,” Governor Kaine said.
The Office for Children has almost 400 children in its Early Head Start program, and almost 1,600 in its Head Start program. Early Head Start serves pregnant women with low incomes, and their children who are 0 to three years old. Head Start is for 3 to 5 year-olds from low-income families. Head Start services include child education; medical, dental, nutrition, mental health and prenatal care; parent education; family literacy and English programs.
Kindergarten teachers have shared with Mary L. Peterson, director of the Office of Early Childhood and Family Services for Fairfax County Public Schools, that when children have been in Head Start or had a similar preschool experience, they are better prepared for success in school.
“Forty years of research shows that Head Start children are more likely to enjoy academic and professional success than those who didn’t get to have high quality early childhood education,” says Jennifer Branch, the Office for Children’s Head Start director.
To find out about special events for Head Start Awareness Month, parents can call 703-324-8290.