Baltimore City Head Start Program is dedicated to providing the highest quality comprehensive services with a continued commitment to excellence in child development and school readiness for pre-school children in low-income families in Baltimore City through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social, emotional and other services to enrolled children. The program also actively engages parents in their children's learning and development by supporting the parents' pursuit of their own educational, employment, parental, social, and other goals that lead ultimately toward self-sufficiency.
Significant emphasis is placed on the involvement of parents in all areas of the program including leadership and advocacy. Qualified parents receive preference for employment vacancies. Through collaboration and partnership with public, private, and community organizations, Baltimore City Head Start is able to provide comprehensive, integrated services in all these areas and more:
Comprehensive health care is coordinated with the family and community health agencies to ensure that children’s physical exams, developmental screenings, immunizations, and dental care are current.
Head Start ensures that:
- Medical and Dental – Children receive complete examinations, including physical exams, vision and hearing tests, identification of disabling conditions, immunizations, and dental exams.
- Nutritional – Children are served free, nutritious, family-style meals daily. Trained staff supervise the nutrition activities of each Head Start Program and teach parents how to select healthy foods, and prepare balanced meals.
Every child receives a variety of learning experiences to foster his or her social, emotional, intellectual, and physical growth. Children are introduced to the concept of letters, words, and numbers and are encouraged to express their feelings in a positive manner and develop self-confidence.
Head Start offers:
- Degreed teachers and program staff (BA, MA, Ph.D.)
- Developmentally appropriate Curricula (Creative Curriculum, Second Step)
- Children develop social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language/literacy skills
- Individual development plans for each child
Disabilities and Mental Health
Each Head Start program must ensure that at least 10% of its enrollment opportunities is made available to children who have documented disabilities.
Head Start offers:
- Services, therapy, and intervention needed for children with an Individual Education Plan (IEP).
- Mental Health – A mental health professional in every Head Start program to provide services and training to children, families, and staff. Emphasis is placed on positive mental health practices.
Parent, Family, and Community Engagement
Through the family partnership process, staff supports families in identifying and working toward life goals that help to improve their quality of life. Staff supports families through community outreach and resources, referrals, adult education/GED classes, job readiness, emergency assistance, and/or crisis intervention, among other things.
We recognize parents as the child’s first teacher. Parent participation is strongly encouraged in all aspects of the program and in some cases mandated. Parents are elected to serve on the BCHS Policy Council and are automatically members of their classroom and program committees. The Policy Council is part of the governing body and shares in the major decision making with the governing board and program staff.
Head Start provides:
- Parent Involvement opportunities in all areas: Education, Health & Nutrition, Program planning, Community Advocacy, etc.
- Shared decision-making with governing board and program staff
- Family Goal Setting opportunities
- Connection to community services/resources
- College tuition assistance
- Employment opportunities
- Fatherhood and Male Involvement
- Family Literacy