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Head Start Expansion Announced for Sumner County

Children like Easton could be eligible to receive full day preschool services at Futures Unlimited, Inc. beginning in September thanks to a recent Head Start expansion.

February 2017 - Jennifer Biehler, Director of Head Start at Futures Unlimited, Inc. announced the Department of Health Human Services awarded funds to expand the local Head Start program. 

The funds will expand preschool services at Futures. “I am excited the community will benefit from this critical funding for children and families,” says Biehler. The funding will increase the number of hours and days of high-quality services offered to children enrolled in Head Start. Currently the Head Start program provides 452 hours of instruction annually. Beginning September 1, 2017 the Head Start program will provide 1022 hours of instruction to 51 students annually. 

Increasing the number of hours a preschooler receives classroom instruction, research shows, directly improves their likelihood for school success. “Providing access to high-quality early education is vital to closing the educational gap,” shares Biehler. “Increasing a child’s preschool instruction time smooths the often difficult transition to kindergarten because children are better prepared for the full-day format of kindergarten.” 

The program will provide seven hours of instruction to 51 Head Start students in three classrooms having no more than 17 students in each class. One classroom will offer half-day instruction, having no more than 15 students in each class. 

Futures Unlimited Policy Council Chair Patrick Harrison feels this type of format might be particularly helpful to working parents since it will lessen their dependence on daycare and increase classroom instruction time to make the transition to kindergarten easier. “At least for our family it would help Easton because he would have more time for school readiness. He will have a better understanding of what kindergarten will look like and sense of a full day routine. I definitely think it is a win-win.” 

Futures preschool teachers are fully licensed and hold bachelor’s degrees in early childhood. Several hold additional credentials. The preschool program uses Teaching Strategies Creative Curriculum which meets objectives required by the Kansas Department of Education and the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework. The curriculum is a comprehensive research based system that features exploration and discovery as a way of learning and building positive, meaningful relationships with children and their families. 

To apply or find out more about the program, visit www.futures-unlimited.org/WhatWeDo or call (620)326-8906.

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