Head Start

Head Start

Head Start is a Federal program for preschool children from low-income families.  The Head Start program is operated by local non-profit organizations in almose every county in the country.  Children who attend Head Start participate in a wide-variety of education activities helging children grow mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically, and is ultimately aimed at assisting children in becoming school ready.  Head Start offers programming to meet the needs and interests of the entire family.

Approach and Curriculum

Staff work closely with parents to develop and implement a curriculum which provides each child with opportunities for success, builds self-esteem, and creates positive attitudes toward learning. They offer a variety of developmentally appropriate, hands-on activities to foster a positive self-concept. Teachers know each child well and design activities based on their knowledge of individual children's differing abilities, developmental levels, and approaches to learning.

When daily programming is planned, attention is given to the following guidelines:

  • All children play outdoors daily, weather permitting.
  • The schedule allows time for alternating periods of quiet and active play.
  • A balance of large muscle and small muscle activity is provided.
  • More than one option for group activity (individual, small group, or large group) is available to children during the day.
  • The amount of time spent in staff-initiated, large group activity is limited.
  • Children have the opportunity to experience learning in other settings as a variety of field trips are taken throughout the school year.
  • Children have access to a great variety of materials each day, including creative art, blocks, dramatic play, sand, water, woodworking, language arts, books, music, cooking, movement, and the outdoors to enhance children's development in the areas of academic readiness, motor, self-help, social/emotional and health/nutrition.
  • Literacy is emphasized. A print-rich classroom environment is provided, full of exciting opportunities for learning, and many activities support pre-literacy skills.

Families considering the Head Start program are welcome to make an appointment to observe classroom activities to aid them in the decision-making process. Parents of children enrolled in the program are welcome to visit the classroom at any time during the school day.

Early Head Start

Early Head Start was launched in 1995 to provide comprehensive child and family developmnet services for low-income pregnant women and families with infants and toddlers ages birth to three years.  Early Head Start (EHS) programs were established to provide early, continuous, intensive, and comprehensive child development and family support services on a year-round basis.  The purpose of the program is to enhance children's physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development; to support parents' efforts to fulfill their parental roles; and to help parents move toward self-sufficiency.

Early Head Start principles include:

  • An Emphasis on High Quality which recognizes the critical opportunity of EHS programs to positively impact children and families in the early years and beyond.
  • Prevention and Promotion Activities that both promote healthy development and recognize and address atypical development at the earliest stage possible.
  • Positive Relationships and Continuity which honor the critical importance of early attachments on healthy development in early childhood and beyond.  The parents are viewed as the child's first and most important relationship.
  • Parent Involvement activities that offer parents a meaningful and strategic role in the program's vision, services, and governance.
  • Inclusion strategies that respect the unique developmental trajectories of young children in the context of a typical setting, which includes children with disabilities.
  • Cultural competence which acknowledges the profound role that culture plays in early development.  Programs also recognize the influence of cultural values and beliefs on both staff and families' approaches to child development.  Programs work within the context of home languages for all children and families.
  • Comprehensiveness, Flexibility and Responsiveness of services which allow children and families to move across various program options over time, as their life situation demands.
  • Transition planning respects families' need for though and attention paid to movements across program options and into and out of Early Head Start programs.
  • Collaboration is central to an Early Head Start program's ability to meet the comprehensive needs of families.  Strong partnerships allow programs to expand their services to families with infants and toddlers beyond the door of the program and into the larger community.








Child and Family Library

Our Family Library available to all families that work with the programs of FEN. Families can come to spend time in the library and /or borrow books from the library.

Early Head Start

Early Head Start offers a center base, full day early childhood program for families with children six weeks to three years of age. Services include programming in health, nutrition, early education, special services, family and community partnership. Transportation and meals are provided; income eligibility and age guidelines apply.

English as a Second Language

Classes instructed in speaking, reading, and writing the English language, offered twice a week on Wednesdays from 9:00-11:00am and Thursday evenings from 5:30-7:00pm. Classes work toward mastering the English language and developing skills for those interested in pursuing ell and citizenship.

Family Literacy Training

Family literacy trainings and activities are offered to families throughout the program year, and are based on the 2007 Head Start Act which includes: Interactive activities between parents and children, parents as first teacher, education for self-sufficiency that leads to economic and financial literacy, and age-appropriate education.

General Education Development (GED) Classes

Instruction based classes, offered at a variety of times, on the five subjects needed to pass the GED exam. Classes are available at different ability levels and are designed around individual student’s needs.

Head Start

Head Start offers comprehensive best practice center base half-day and full day programming with services which include health, nutrition, early education, special services and family and community partnership. Head Start offers UPK programming in collaboration with the Binghamton and Johnson City School Districts. Transportation and meals are provided; income eligibility and age guidelines apply.

Johnson City UPK

Family Enrichment Network offers Johnson City School District four-year-old children with a five day a week 1/2 day center based preschool experience. Meals and snacks are included and transportation is provided to families living in the transportation block area.

Policy Council

Head Start/Early Head Start programs must establish and maintain formal structures of shared governance through which parents participate in policy making and decision making about the program. All policy councils must be established as early in the program year as possible, and must consist of two types of members: parent and community members.

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