Head Start Program / Early Head Start
The main commitment of Head Start/Early Head Start program is based on the principle of equality for all; we are moved by the purpose of providing the children, families and communities in our district comprehensive services of the highest quality, that respond to the needs of the people we serve. We are an interdisciplinary team working in collaboration with public and private agencies that also provide services to families.
The municipality offers continuous, extensive and comprehensive services for the integral development of the child and his or her family. It covers the ages 0 to 5 years; services are also offered to pregnant women; greater emphasis on adolescents.
Programs assigned to this Department are: Early Head Start and Head Start. Both programs are facilitators and promoters of a better quality of life in all of our communities. The program is divided into six (6) operational areas, which are: North, Center A, Center B, Southwest, Southeast A and Southeast B.
Programa Early Head Start
The Early Head Start program offers comprehensive services of edu-care, medical-dental health, nutrition, partnerships with family and community, mental health, parents’ integration, literacy, services for children with special needs and transition. In addition, it offers services to pregnant women and children between the ages of 0 – 3 years of age.
The Early Head Start program began in March 2002 in the Centro Paraiso Infantil, serving 32 children between the ages of 0-3 years and eight pregnant women.
This program has ten groups of Edu-Care. It promotes and encourages the healthy development of every infant and child. We ensure and carefully monitor the progress of each area (physical, socio-emotional, language and cognitive). Currently, it is divided into 4 environments/rooms designed for an enrollment of 80 infants, in addition to 32 pregnant women.
Each environment/room, corresponds to a particular stage in the development of children of 0-3 years:
- 1st environment: Infants 0-8 months
- 2nd environment: Infants 9-16 months
- 3rd environment: Small Toddler 17-24 months
- 4th environment: Toddler in Transition 25-36 months
Head Start Program
This program currently serves 1,021 children in all communities of Guaynabo. It is designed to provide pre-school (3-4 years) children with comprehensive services of education, medical, dental health, nutrition, partnerships with family and community, mental health, parental integration, early literacy, children with special needs, transition and transportation services.
The municipality possesses 24 centers in 6 areas, totaling 54 rooms in the communities of Guaynabo and 10 environments for infants and maternal.
It is the formal structure for monitoring quality services for children and families in Head Start and decision -making related to the design and implementation of the program. Representing children , families and communities served by the program. This consists of :
The program provides a variety of learning experiences in an environment that stimulates the progress of children, considering the aspects of development: cognitive, linguistic, socio-emotional and physical. A comprehensive Head Start teacher’s guide offers support to those in charge of the children participating in the program.
It also focuses on the knowledge and skills that make up the school readiness of children from 3 to 5 years. This guide emphasizes 11 areas: physical development and health, social and emotional development, expression of the creative arts, methods of learning, language development, knowledge and skills about literacy, logic and reasoning, knowledge and skills in math, knowledge, and skills of science, knowledge and skills of social studies, and development of the English language to provide a second language to the children.
We integrate the parents as the primary educators of their children, together with the teachers and assistants, ensuring their collaboration in the education of the children. Our staff is highly qualified and trained to work with children of preschool age.
The Dental Health Care of participating children and families, as well as for members of the community, is of utmost importance. Our goal is that every child, along with his or her family has a medical home where preventive and required health monitoring is ensured, following guidelines from the Health Department of Puerto Rico. Participants receive the necessary medical care and follow-up on an individual basis, as well.
Through Mi Salud (health insurance provided by the Government of Puerto Rico) or any private health plan, our children may benefit from the following services: laboratory, medical, dental and specialists as needed. During the school year our health team offers numerous evaluations such as: weight, height, blood pressure, vision, hearing, and head circumference. In addition we give follow-up care to pre-existing or health conditions detected during any of the different assessments, screenings and observations done throughout the year. The team also offers lectures to children, parents, and community covering different health topics. The goal is to keep the community informed and focused on health issues that may affect our city and our island.
The Head Start program supplements 3⁄4 of the children’s daily nutritional needs through breakfast, lunch and snack. It promotes the well-being of children by providing nutrition services that complement the home and community services. We have licensed nutritionists who design balanced menus according to the needs of the children, including children with special needs. We also offer orientations and lectures to children, parents and community on topics related to the nutritional well-being of the children and their family. Pregnant women are provided with guidance on breastfeeding, feeding, preparation of formula, etc.
Nutrition services are offered in family style where the adults share meal time with the children, encouraging them to learn the proper use of the fork, knife and spoon, and other utensils on the table. We also encourage good manners, dental hygiene and intellectual development through experiences that are educational.
Children with special needs
The program promotes the inclusion of children with special needs in different environments or centers. Ten percent of the registered students are children with special needs. The child has the opportunity to participate in daily activities, which are modified according to the needs of the child. Collaboration agreements with the Departments of Education and Health have been established to enhance the quality of service to children according to their condition. The program ensures the coordination and continuity of services for infants, toddlers and preschool children with disabilities who are eligible for services through Early Head Start, Head Start and part C and H of the Education Act for individuals with disabilities (IDEA). These two systems are coordinated and integrated so that the family and their children from the appropriate services as identified in their individualized Family Service Plan (PISF) and/or Individual Educational Plan (PEI).
The Head Start program offers the mental health care services, which promotes the optimal emotional development of the children and family, emphasizing the aspects of security, adaptive behavior, emotions management, development of self-esteem and interpersonal relations between adults and children. Special mental health services are offered to those children whose behavior or development is atypical. Collaboration agreements with other State or municipal agencies are established to provide follow up services. If necessary, families may also qualify for benefits provided by other community agencies.
Partnerships with families and the community
The Partnership with Families and Community Area establishes the first contact with the family through the promotion, recruitment and enrollment process. It offers parents the opportunity and support for their own development, so that they can identify their strengths, establish needs and interests, and provides them with assistance if needed. Parents are encouraged to identify and reach their own goals. The program offers a variety of community resources that may be of benefit to the families. It contributes to the development of children within their own family environment and culture as well as promoting community support to their families.
It establishes relationships of trust and cooperation between parents and the members of the team, allowing them to communicate and get to know each other. It encourages the parents to get involved in their children’s activities, empowering them and promoting leadership. The program enables them to support the growth and development of their children.
Another important part of this area is the transition, which means providing the opportunity for activities with the children, parents and expectant mothers to facilitate their process of adjustment to new environments, beginning with their home arrival, Early Head Start, Head Start and subsequently kindergarten.
Head Start/Early Head Start program provides services to 32 expecting moms under the guidelines proposed in the “MARCH OF DIMES” curriculum known as “Good Beginning”. Our goal is to guide our participants during their pregnancy promoting good and healthy habits for themselves and their babies. In addition we ensure each of our participants have access to prenatal and postpartum care along with a medical home (private or state) as soon they begin our program.
Lectures and presentations:
- Prenatal and pregnancy care
- Lamaze classes
- Nutrition during pregnancy
- Baby’s nutrition
- Dental Health for expectant mothers
- Alcohol, drugs and tobacco use during pregnancy
- Post-partum depression
In addition to those mentioned above, the program offers reading material on pregnancy care, infants, health, stages in development, etc.
Our program includes Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms with extended hours from 7:30 am-4:30 pm and 7:30 am-5:30 pm for those children whose parents work or study, providing them the opportunity to place their children in safe learning places while they work or study.
- Age verification (one of these options):
- Copy of birth certificate, vaccination card (including seal by the local Office of Vital Statistics), Baptism Certificate or passport.
- Houshold income verification
- Salary, financial aid, child support, social security benefits, unemployment benefits, insurance benefits (Fondo del Seguro del Estado), self-employment wages, etc.
- We recommend: :
- Legal guardians must bring verification of guardianship.
- Copy of child’s Social Security card.
- Medical evaluations in case of special needs.
- Department of Education registration if available.