In the 2015-16 school year this agency served 224 Head Start children and 204 Head Start families.
The average monthly enrollment was 100%.
According to the 2016 Kids Count Fact Book 33% of eligible children in Woonsocket were served in our Head Start program
PARENT INVOLVEMENT ACTIVITIES
Families matter, especially in Head Start. Since its inception, family involvement has been a cornerstone of the Head Start program. We know from the research that family involvement in schools helps to ensure children’s academic success and success later in life.
In 2015-2016, WHSCDA, Inc. offered an array of parent involvement and education opportunities for parents to improve their parenting skills, their literacy skills, their leadership and advocacy skills and their ability to communicate comfortably with their children’s teachers throughout their educational experience. In addition, we offered support and psycho educational groups for parents to learn ways to overcome barriers to their own mental health. The following are the parent involvement opportunities we provided:
Parent Education Workshops and Training – individual workshops and educational series on topics such as Going Green-saving the environment; Self Care Information Sessions such as Aromatherapy and Meditation; Health, Safety and Nutrition; Parenting Education; Transitioning to Public School; Promoting Mental Health; and Understanding Children’s Learning and Development. Over thirty-eight (38) sessions were held from September to June.
Seven (7) Parent Committees were held at each of our three Head Start centers to help promote two-way communication and foster connections between families and staff. Attendance for the school year averaged 52%.
Promoting Fatherhood Activities – each site offers various activities to promote fathers’ involvement in the lives and education of their children.
A variety of opportunities helped parents develop skills and enhance their self-confidence. These included volunteering in the classroom, kitchen, office, as well as activities to do at home with children to support classroom goals.
Decision making opportunities including serving as members of the Policy Council and various committees. The Policy Council is composed of parents and community representatives elected by parents of enrolled children to help set the direction of the Head Start program. Committees included the Health Services Advisory, Self-Assessment, and Family Service Recruitment Committees. One Policy Council parent represented the agency at the State level on the RIHSA Parent Advisory Committee and the NEHSA Regional Board.
The agency’s efforts to prepare children for kindergarten
WHSCDA, Inc. programs use Creative Curriculum and R.I. Early Learning and Development Standards as a framework for implementing high-quality early childhood programs. The RI Early Learning and Development Standards articulate expectations for what children should know and be able to do. RIELDS goals, aligned with Creative Curriculum Continuum, guides teachers in development of curriculum and assessing children’s progress. The curriculum is comprehensive, flexible and child-centered and is aligned with the Head Start Child development and Learning Framework. We are guided by these authoritative sources which complement each other and results in a curriculum that sets expectations for our program, for staff, and for children while allowing for a high degree of individualization.
We welcome all children and their families, including but not limited to those with developmental delays and disabilities, mental health diagnoses and behavioral challenges, into our program and ensure they fully participate in all aspects of the educational program
Our curriculum promotes young children’s school readiness in the following areas:
Language Development, which consists of the elements of listening and understanding, speaking and communicating – this includes use of increased vocabulary to communicate orally, use of appropriate patterns of language, use of age-appropriate language, and verbalization of needs and feelings
Literacy, which consists of the elements of phonological awareness, book knowledge and appreciation, print awareness and concepts, early writing, and alphabet knowledge
Mathematics, which consists of the elements of numbers and operations, geometry and spatial sense, patterns, and measurements
Science, which consists of the elements of scientific skills and methods, and conceptual knowledge of the natural and physical world knowledge
Creative Arts, consisting of the elements of music, art, movement, and dramatic play
Social and Emotional Development , consisting of the elements of self-concept, self-control, cooperation, social relationships, and knowledge of families and communities, history and events, people and the environment
Cognitive Development, consisting of elements of- Logic and Reasoning, Memory and Working Memory, Attention and inhibitory control, and Cognitive Flexibility
Physical Health and Development, which consists of the domains of fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and health status and practice
Social Studies, which consists of elements of Self, family, and Community and History and Geography
English Language Development /Dual Language Learners, which consists of elements of comprehension and ability to speak and engage in English language and literacy activities
Child “outcomes” refers to the measurement of children’s learning over the program year in each of the areas of development specified in the R.I. Early Learning and Development Standards and the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework.
WHSCDA 2016 Spring School Readiness Outcomes report for kindergarten eligible children.
One of our five year goals was to increase the number of children reaching step 3 on the developmental continuum in the areas of Literacy and Mathematics. We were especially focused on increasing developmental progress in the Literacy areas of Print Awareness and Phonological Awareness and Number & Operations in Mathematics.
Literacy increased by 5% (71% to 76%)
Phonological Awareness increased 6% (61%-67%)
Print Concepts stayed the same at 70%
Mathematics increased by 6% (78%-84%)
Number & Operations increased 7% (77% to 84%)
Special OUTCOMES reports for DLL, showed only 52% reached step three in Literacy development. This reflected a decrease of 16% from last year’s Literacy outcomes which was 68% in step 3. Specific Literacy skills for print awareness and phonological awareness outcomes were significantly less than the outcomes for all K children.
Print Awareness 41% this year compared to 64% last year
Phonological Awareness 30% compared to 56%
Looking closer at the data to identify what might be some causes for this decrease, we discovered outcomes reports for individual classrooms that had beginning teachers, consistently assessed their DLL children at a much lower step than their peers.
This indicates a renewed training emphasis on DLL teaching strategies to support learning. We will also be taking a closer look at how DLL are assessed to ensure fidelity in assessment practices.