Fredericktown Head Start wins state’s highest, Five-Star Award for Excellence in early care and education
In recognition of its high-quality early care and education program and its ongoing commitment to children, Fredericktown Head Start has received Knox County’s second Five-Star “Step Up To Quality” Award from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services – Bureau of Child Care and Development, the state agency responsible for licensing and promoting high standards of Ohio’s child care centers.
Fredericktown Head Start has been operating out of its current location at 124 High Street since 2006. It formerly operated out of a church from 2001-02. The center currently serves 40 children and families at this location. Lindsey Lamp is the center manager.
“We applaud Fredericktown Head Start employees for their commitment to children. By going above and beyond Ohio’s minimum licensing standards, educators give young children the opportunity to grow and develop in a stimulating, nurturing environment,” said Peg Tazewell, executive director for KCHS.
Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) is Ohio’s quality rating and improvement system for licensed learning and development programs. SUTQ recognizes learning and development programs that exceed licensing health and safety standards. Program standards are organized into four domains: learning and development, staff qualifications and professional development, administrative and leadership practices, and family and community partnerships. By 2020, Ohio intends that all children served with public funds will be served in high-quality classrooms or family child care homes, defined as those environments rated at a Star Three or higher. For more information, visit www.earlychildhoodohio.org.
KCHS’s other centers are also rated through the SUTQ system: With five stars is the Gambier Child Care Center, Fredericktown, Centerburg, Danville and Northgate; with four stars is Mount Vernon’s New Hope Early Education Center. The New Hope Center is in the process of application for five-star rating. Experts say these benchmarks improve the growth and development potential of children. The rating system gives parents a useful tool for selecting quality early childhood programs.
“This program has done wonders for my boys. Their teachers are wonderful, and able to handle all kinds of situations that arise with young children,” said Fredericktown Head Start parent Meghan Forward. “They work around each child’s needs to make sure he/she gets the most out of his/her time here. The staff is courteous and helpful. It’s been a great preparation for kindergarten!”
Celebrating 50 years locally and nationally, the comprehensive services of the Head Start program model are recognized as a key element to improving children’s lifelong learning and success. In President Obama’s recent State of the Union address, he called for more focus and dedicated work to ensure vulnerable children and families have access to high-quality care and education in their earliest years. The President’s FY’16 budget includes a commitment to expanding and strengthening child care and early education programs, Head Start specifically. Governor Kasich’s FY’16 budget proposal also includes expanded early education funding.
From a recent article that appeared on TheHill.com: “Nobel-prize winning economist James Heckman has suggested that the social-emotional development cultivated by programs that focus on more than simply academic skills may be the true contributor to long-term impacts of the program, and health benefits ranging from decreased child mortality to adult health behaviors also make a difference over a life-span. But the true motivator behind children’s success through elementary school and beyond very likely is their parents. By helping families who are struggling with poverty and other socio-economic challenges achieve their goals for education, employment and housing, Head Start and programs like it play a transformative role for two generations together.”
KCHS serves 500 children and families throughout Knox County, providing comprehensive services including educational activities supporting children’s readiness for kindergarten, and attention to children’s health, social-emotional, dental and nutritional needs, along with supports for parents in promoting family self-sufficiency. Services are provided to pregnant moms, infants, toddlers, preschool-aged children, and school-aged children, funded through the Department of Health and Human Services – Administration for Children and Families Federal Head Start grants, with additional support from the United Way of Knox County and The Community Foundation of Mount Vernon & Knox County.
For more information visit www.knoxheadstart.org, like Knox County Head Start, Inc. on Facebook or call (740) 397-1344. Fredericktown Head Start also has its own Facebook page.