The federally funded Head Start is a comprehensive child development program that serves qualifying pre-school children and their families. Head Start is a child-focused program and has the overall goal of increasing the school readiness of young children in low-income families.
Head Start began nationally with a task force recommendation in 1965 for the development of a federally sponsored pre-school program to meet the needs of disadvantaged children. The program delivers a range of services, responsive and appropriate to each child’s and each family’s heritage and experience, that encompass all aspects of a child’s development and learning.
BRAD Head Start began in 1965 under the direction of program director, Virginia Atkison, as a summer program and has expanded to offer a full-day, full-year program for 286 children and their families.
Arkansas Better Chance
BRAD Head Start/Early Head Start is funded to serve 87 children and families through the state-funded Arkansas Better Chance program. These children are served in Randolph and Clay Counties. Thirty-nine children are served in the Arkansas Better Chance for School Success classrooms and 48 children are served in the Arkansas Better Chance Infant/Toddler classrooms.
Arkansas Better Chance uses the COPA Data System to file and track children and family information. The curriculum and assessment used in the Arkansas Better Chance for School Success classroom is the Work Sampling System. All Arkansas Better Chance staff are also trained on the Arkansas Early Childhood Frameworks.
Early Head Start
In 1994, Congress established a new program for low-income families with infants, toddlers, and pregnant women which was and is now called Early Head Start. In creating this program, Congress acted upon evidence from research and practice which illustrates that early intervention through high quality programs enhances children’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development; enables parents to be better caregivers and teachers to their children; and helps parents meet their own goals, including economic independence.
BRAD received funding for Early Head Start is 1999. Families are selected to receive Early Head Start services using the federal poverty guidelines and the agency’s criteria for enrollment.
BRAD Early Head Start is a comprehensive child development program that serves children from birth to 3, and their families. It is a child-focused program and has the overall goal of increasing the school readiness of young children in low-income families.