Unit One The Children and You
Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
All children who attend a Head Start program
are given a total health plan. Dental, medical,
and mental health services are provided. Prior to
enrollment, many of these children have never
visited a dentist. Children who have not already
received childhood immunizations are given
them while they are enrolled.
Parental Involvement
Head Start recognizes the parent as the child’s
fi rst teacher. Supporting parental involvement
is vital to the program’s success. Parents are
encouraged to help recruit new children, assist
in the center, and take part in policy meetings.
Thus, Head Start parents are able to infl uence
administrative decisions.
and teacher had studied under Froebel. Mrs.
Schurz fi rst opened the kindergarten for her own
children and four of their cousins.
Today, kindergartens are part of most public and
many private school systems. Attendance policies
vary throughout the United States. Kindergartens
are usually restricted to children who are at least
four years old. The purpose of kindergartens is to
prepare children for primary school.
There are two basic scheduling patterns in
kindergarten: half-day and full-day sessions.
The half-day session usually runs from two and
one-half to three and one-half hours per day.
Full-day sessions run from six to eight hours
per day, which provides children more time in
a structured setting. Studies show that children
attending full-day developmentally appropriate
kindergarten programs are better prepared for
primary-grade learning. They are equipped
with stronger learning skills and understand
appropriate behavior. They learned more in
mathematics, literacy, and language skills than
those children attending half-day programs.
Full-day/alternating day programs vary. Some
programs meet every other day. Others require
children to attend on Tuesday and Thursday
the fi rst week, and on Monday and Friday the
next week. Other alternating programs have
children attend two full days and one-half day.
To illustrate, one group may attend all day on
Monday and Wednesday, plus on Friday morning.
Conducting Daily Health Checks
As children arrive at the early childhood facility,
a trained staff member should conduct a daily
health check. This helps reduce transmission of
communicable disease. Through observation,
talking with parents or legal guardians, and talking
with children, the staff member will look for changes
in behavior or appearance from the previous day
that indicate illness or injuries of children or family
members. Since the date of last attendance, a staff
member will look for such signs of illness as eye
drainage, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rashes, itchy skin
or scalp, or nits (with a lice outbreak) and will check
for elevated body temperature if symptoms warrant it.
If a child becomes sick during the day, a facility
must provide a separate place for the child to rest
in comfort with supervision. Parents or guardians
should be called and asked to take the child home.
Written records about daily health checks are a
requirement for all facilities.
In 1837, the fi rst kindergarten was opened in
Germany by Frederick Froebel. The kindergarten
curriculum stressed play. Froebel believed that
self-development took place through creative
activities such as play. The children in this
kindergarten, like many today, engaged in
painting, stringing beads, blockbuilding, and clay
modeling. The children also cared for pets, sang
songs, and gardened.
The fi rst American kindergarten was opened
in Watertown, Wisconsin, in 1856. It was held in
the home of Margerenthia Schurz. This mother
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