Purpose - The mission of STEP Head Start is to foster hope, growth, self-sufficiency and social competence in children and their families in partnership with parents and the community.
Vision - The vision of Head Start is to be a catalyst for inspiring positive change and fostering hope in children, families and the community.
Program Overview - Part of the STEP Early Learning Pathway, STEP Head Start PA Pre-K Counts provides high-quality preschool education to three- and four-year-olds with funds provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Highly qualified, trained and caring staff provide educational services that help children grow intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally. We believe parents are every child’s most important teachers. The program encourages parental participation in all program activities and partners with parents to help children succeed.
There is no cost to participants.
Preschool children in Lycoming and Clinton Counties, including those with disabilities, are eligible for enrollment. Head Start accepts applications year-round and fills vacancies from its waiting list as they occur. While children from low-income families have enrollment priority, children from families with incomes up to 300% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines may be enrolled.
- Education: Individualized learning experiences that foster every child’s social, emotional, intellectual and physical growth.
- Health: Physical and dental examinations, immunizations, comprehensive health screenings and any necessary follow-up services.
- Nutrition: Nutritious snacks and lunches that meet USDA standards; nutrition education for children and parents.
- Family Engagement: Individualized family partnerships, goal setting and personal support; recognition that parents are every child’s first and most important teachers; volunteer opportunities.
- Parent Decision-Making: opportunities for parents to participate in program planning and decision-making, sharing program governance with the STEP Board of Directors.
- Social Services: Support and referrals that help families improve their lives.
- Support for Children with Disabilities: Early identification and intervention to support children with disabilities and their inclusion in all program activities.
Benchmarks Of Success
- Pre-K Counts children benefit from a comprehensive, individualized educational program, including quality early learning experiences to foster social, emotional, intellectual and physical growth.
- Age-eligible Pre-K Counts children are ready for kindergarten.
- Pre-K Counts children receive snack and lunch, meeting 1/3 of their daily nutritional requirements, and regular nutrition education.
- Pre-K Counts children complete routine screenings for developmental, sensory and behavioral concerns, and those identified as needing follow-up assessment or formal evaluation receive it.
- Pre-K Counts children with disabilities receive inclusive education and early intervention services.
- PA Pre-K Counts parents are supported in their roles as primary educators of their children and offered opportunities for participation and personal growth.
- Volunteer hours are contributed to the PA Pre-K Counts program by many volunteers, including Pre-K Counts parents, who practice parenting and other child development skills in Head Start classrooms, and request and receive training on a wide variety of subjects.
- 100% of PA Pre-K Counts teachers are certified in early childhood education.
Early Childhood Knowledge and Learning Center, “The U.S. Office of Head Start”: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc
PA PreK Counts: http://www.pakeys.org/pages/get.aspx?page=Programs_PreKCounts
Pennsylvania Early Learning Keys to Quality: http://www.pakeys.org
PA Head Start State Collaboration Office: http://www.pakeys.org/pages/get.aspx?page=Programs_HS_HSSCO
The National Head Start Association: http://www.nhsa.org/
The Pennsylvania Head Start Association: http://www.paheadstart.org/
National Association for the Education of Young Children: http://www.naeyc.org/