Sometimes children need a helping hand, and the Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre’s Head Start program does just that.
“Head Start is a free, inclusive learn-through-play program for children three-and-a-half to five years old of qualifying families,” said Meagan Highet, program manager. Head Start aims to help children develop the skills needed for kindergarten. Interested families should contact Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre for more information and to see if they qualify.
In Head Start, teachers, early childhood educators, and family support workers “provide a program that strengthens and enriches the lives of children and their families where parents and caregivers are respected as the primary educators and nurturers of their children,” said Highet. “Family support workers play a key role in family development by working directly with parents, often in the home. [They] provide support such as encouragement, connections, information, and advocacy and will liaise with other service providers to meet needs identified by the family.”
The program focuses on social, physical, language, creative, and emotional developmental and learning needs.
“My children still talk fondly of the course and the teachers,” said Rebecca Lippiatt. “The teachers were fantastic! They were kind. Committed to the kids.” Lippiatt said the program helped with her children’s shyness because it helped them open up and become comfortable with formal learning.
Head Start is offered in half-day sessions from Tuesday to Friday at Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre and Rundle School. With 17 children per class, the class sizes are fairly small. The program runs during the school year, with extended programming through July for children who may benefit from the program before entering kindergarten. Busing is free for children who live within the busing zone, although there is no bus service in July.
Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre offers free programs and services to low-income families who may be facing challenges. A non-profit organization, they receive funding from various donors.
“Norwood applies for additional funding for children with severe or mild/moderate delays as well as English language learners,” Highet said. Children with identified learning needs attending Head Start and who require additional support to strengthen their speech and language or physical development may be eligible to receive more funding from Alberta Education.
To register for the program, contact Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre, and their staff will assess the family’s needs and find the right programs for each family. Families can begin the registration process in January.
HEAD START PROGRAM
Norwood Child & Family Resource Centre
9516 114 Ave
11005 34 St
Feature image: The Head Start program is free for qualifying families. | Supplied