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, family and the community.
Program Overview - As part of the STEP Early Learning Pathway, STEP Head Start is committed to helping children and families succeed. Head Start gives children the tools they need to succeed in school and in life and families the tools they need to maximize their children’s success as well as their own. Highly qualified, trained and caring staff provide comprehensive services that help children grow educationally, physically, socially and emotionally. We believe parents are every child’s most important teachers and encourage parent participation in all program activities and partner 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 higher-income families may be enrolled as well.
- 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, in addition to 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.
- Head Start preschool children receive comprehensive services, including quality early learning experiences to foster social, emotional, intellectual and physical growth, 1/3 of their daily nutritional requirement and regular nutrition education.
- Kindergarten-eligible Head Start children demonstrate kindergarten readiness skills in all areas of learning.
- Head Start children are linked to an ongoing source of continuous, accessible health care.
- Head Start children are up-to-date on a schedule of age-appropriate preventive and primary health care.
- Head Start children are determined by a health care professional to be up-to-date on all immunizations appropriate for their age.
- Head Start children are linked to continuous, accessible dental care provided by a dentist and those who need dental treatment receive it.
- Head Start children complete routine screenings for developmental, sensory and behavioral concerns and those identified as needing follow-up assessment or formal evaluation receive it.
- Head Start children with disabilities receive inclusive education and treatment services. Head Start families receive supportive social services and referrals on topics that included parenting, health, emergency/crisis intervention, housing assistance, adult education and job training, mental health, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect prevention, and child support assistance.
- Volunteer hours are contributed to the Head Start program by many volunteers, including Head Start parents, who practice parenting and other child development skills, requested and receive training on a wide variety of subjects, and participate in program planning and decision-making.
- Head Start fathers and father figures participate in organized activities designed to support their bond with the child.
- 100% of preschool Head Start teachers and home visitors are qualified to provide services according to federal regulations.
- 100% of preschool Head Start teachers have qualifying early childhood education degrees.