Chapter 2 Types of Early Childhood Programs
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match blocks with like textures. Musical bells
with varying tones are used in the same way.
Children match bells that have like tones.
Academics are also stressed in the Montessori
program. Before children are introduced to these
experiences, however, they must usually master
sensory training. Then, to teach letter recognition,
sandpaper letters are used. After the teacher
introduces a letter, children are encouraged to
trace the letter with their fi ngertips. Numbers
are taught in the same manner. When a child
demonstrates knowledge of and interest in letters,
he or she may begin reading instruction.
Artistic or cultural experiences are planned
in addition to daily living exercises, sensory
training, and academics. Children are exposed to
artistic materials to learn about color and line. By
playing with instruments and dancing, they learn
music appreciation.
The curriculum in a Head Start program is
designed to meet the needs of each child. One
goal is to build self-esteem that will lead to future
success in school. Staff encourage self-confi dence,
curiosity, and self-discipline.
A variety of learning experiences are
designed to meet the children’s needs in all four
areas of development. Staff and the child’s entire
family work as a team to plan curriculum and
teach children. Parent involvement is the heart of
the program.
Many children who take part in Head Start do
not receive nutritious meals at home. Providing
nutrition services is a vital part of the program
(Figure 2.4). Federal rules require the center to
provide at least one snack and one hot meal every
day. The nutrition program serves foods that
refl ect the child’s ethnic and cultural preferences.
The goal is to help children make healthful food
choices and develop good eating habits.
Figure 2.4 A well-organized, sanitary kitchen is
an important link in providing sound nutrition for
Head Start
In the 1960s, the federal government designed
a program to overcome the negative effects of
poverty on young children. Head Start is a
comprehensive child development program that
provides a variety of medical and social services
to promote healthy development for children in
low-income families. Educational, nutritional,
health, medical, dental, social, mental health, and
other services are provided.
Head Start mainly provided services for
three- to fi ve-year-olds from low-income families.
Later it added the Early Head Start program,
which promoted prenatal outcomes and healthy
families. The program was expanded to include
infants and toddlers.
Head Start began serving homeless children
in 2007. Homeless children are those children
who lack a regular, fi xed, or nighttime residence.
It includes children living in cars, motels, or
shelters due to economic hardship. Head Start
also is required to provide services to the older
and younger siblings of homeless children.
Educational requirements for Head Start
teachers have changed. As of 2013, Head Start
teachers must have a minimum of an associate’s
degree. Many also have bachelor’s degrees.
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