Education Spotlight: Head Start program in Merced County accepting new applicants

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In ABC30's segment, Education Spotlight, Action News Anchor Landon Burke will talk with Merced County Office of Education (MCOE) officials about some of the biggest topics in education.

A high-quality education program in the North Valley is accepting new applicants. Landon Burke talked with Head Start about the new exciting opportunity.

Landon: Why is early education important?

Linda: Early education is the foundation on which all later, education, rests. In the time between zero and five years old, children
change more rapidly than any other timeframe in their whole development, their personality is literally established during those years, and all the pathways that make it possible for them to learn and remember, and sync, are all created during this timeframe. So it's absolutely essential that children receive the nurturing and the information, and the education that they need during that timeframe.

Landon: How does Head Start specifically help students and their families?

Riana: Well, Head Start is more than just education readiness and for our children. Head Start also assigns each family with an FSP, which we call family service providers, and that service provider does more than just ensure our kids get to school every day that they're meeting all the milestones. That's someone who reaches out to the families and makes sure that families have adequate housing for kids that they have enough food, that they're able to afford things like the utilities, and that parents like myself are able to receive education, additional training, that we can gain more employment and better provide for the home environment for the kids, that when they go to school they're ready to learn, and they're ready to grow within that program.

Linda: Head Start offers a lot of different options for services, different ones for preschool children. We do provide services to pregnant women, so people don't even have to have had their first child. Yet, in fact, somebody finds out, but when you have a baby, we can provide services to them. We have part-day, which is three and a half hours, school day six and a half hours, full-day 10 hours, and family childcare. We do have special activities to engage males and special activities for parents only.

Landon: So, I hear that Merced County Head Start is recruiting families. Is that correct?

Linda: We are, especially right now. This is the first year that we have ever not been full. It's due to the pandemic, so it's a great time for families to get into the program, they can go on to MCOE's website and look for Head Start and literally sign up online, and someone will contact them to get any information that they weren't able to provide or to complete that process. They can also just call the Head Start office, and we actually provide a family support service provider to help them fill out the application, so people don't have to feel like they need to know how to do this. They just get in contact with us, and we'll reach out and help that process get started.

To apply, visit mcoe.org/headstart or call (209) 381-5170.
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