Learning begins at birth, long before children start school. By the time children have turned 3, they are demonstrating the skills and abilities that are the foundation for life-long learning. Young children vary in skills, knowledge, backgrounds and abilities. Effective instruction for all children requires planning and implementing individualized educational opportunities that allow children to fully participate and thrive in the learning environment. Intentional teaching provides quality experiences that promote progress in areas such as language, literacy and social-emotional development.
Developing language and literacy skills begins at birth through everyday interactions-sharing books, telling stories, singing songs and talking to one another. Adults play an important role in preparing young children for future school success and in becoming self-confident and motivated learners. Head Start works to ensure that children are skilled communicators and are able to understand basic literacy concepts as the foundation for reading and writing.
Helping young children acquire social competence has been the overarching goal of Head Start since its inception in 1965. Head Start defines social competence as a child's ability to foster secure attachment with adults, maintain healthy relationships, regulate one's behavior and emotions and develop a healthy concept of personal identity.
Positive social-emotional development helps:
- Provide a base for life-long learning and later academic success in school.
- Prepare children to deal with conflicts and navigate new environments.