Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Giving Young Parents a Boost

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Inside a Head Start classroom, children get prepared for elementary school. Inside a Head Start classroom, children get prepared for elementary school.

Jonetta Ross is a home-based educator with Catholic Charities—and her day never stops.

Working for Catholic Charities West Side Early Head Start program, Ross makes daily home visits to parents to teach them about caring for and educating their children ages 0 to 3.

Encouraging Parents

“Parents are their children’s first teacher,” Ross said.  “The parent’s level of engagement has a lot to do with their children’s growth.” 

When home-based educators first meet with the parents, they do a full assessment of each child in the program. Each family has personalized goals, and they work with Ross to accomplish the necessary steps to reach those goals.

Eva and Bryn

One of the parents Ross visits is Eva Anderson. She has children participating in Early Head Start and Head Start (ages 3-5).

Ross visits with Anderson and her 2-year-old daughter, Bryn, once a week in their home. Since they began, Bryn is talking to express herself and improving in other areas like shape recognition and counting. Anderson can also take Bryn to meetings that allow the Early Head Start children to socialize with other children.

Anderson’s 4-year-old son, Gage, is learning to be more articulate as well attending his Head Start class. “Being in a class room has been huge,” said Anderson. “He is more focused, does a better job following the rules and helps with things like cleaning up.”

Engaging Young Moms

For the last 20 years, Ross has worked with a lot of different parents—many of them are younger moms, some in their teenage years. One client got pregnant at age 18, Ross helped to support her through her pregnancy with education on infant development and then as a new mom.

Because of the support, the young mom finished high school, undergraduate college and is now working on her master’s degree. Her daughter is enrolled in a Head Start class.

Head Start for the Whole Family

Head Start is a free program for children in low-income families, with focusing on giving kids a good start at being ready for school. Every Head Start class emphasizes independent skills like washing hands and brushing teeth. Meals are served family style, so that children learn to serve themselves and others.

The whole family is given resources to help encourage them to be successful.

Head Start and Early Head Start are free programs, but there is often a waiting list. If you or someone you know is interested, please learn more

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