Green Hills Head Start Family Engagement Specialist Lisa McLain and Enrollment Specialist Jenny Lewis spoke at the Trenton Rotary Club meeting on June 17. The program serves children from prenatal to five years old in the nine-county Green Hills area.
Head Start is funded by a federal grant to serve 188 children from three to five years old and 34 for Early Head Start, which serves children from birth to three. Participation is income-based. Children can participate in classroom settings for three to five years old or home-based settings for prenatal to five.
Head Start provides health screenings and services like vision, dental, and hearing checks. It also helps with immunizations.
There is a nutrition/meal component, and classrooms offer homemade meals served family-style. That allows children to learn about eating meals as a family and helping to clean up and put away dishes when the meal is done. Home visitors in the home-based program provide a snack experience.
Each child enrolled in the program receives a new pair of shoes when school starts from the Shoes from the Heart program based out of Macon County.
Head Start is a national program, which started in 1965. The local program began in 1971. The North Central Missouri College is the program administrator. A policy council is made of community members and parents serving as liaisons and making program recommendations.