Began in 1965 as a part of President Johnson's war on poverty, Head Start is an early childhood education program that serves low-income children with an emphasis on health, nutrition and parental involvement. Head Start program services and resources are intended to nurture stable family relationships, enhance children's physical and emotional well-being, and establish an environment to develop strong cognitive skills. Head Start helps to create healthy development in low-income children ages three to five. Head Start affords preschoolers with the ability to engage successfully with their peers outside of the family network, adjust to the space of a classroom, and meet the expectations the school setting provides.
Early Head StartIn 1994, the Early Head Start program was established to serve children from birth to age three, attempting to capitalize on evidence that these years are critical to children's development. Early Head Start promotes healthy prenatal outcomes, healthy families and infant and toddler development beginning as early as birth.
Health ServicesSHARE recognizes that school readiness is greatly impacted by a child's health. Therefore, our Birth to Five Program staff support parents, children, and their families to provide the following: a medical and dental home; vision, hearing, developmental, speech and behavioral screening; immunizations, well-child physical/dental examinations according to South Carolina Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) schedule; evaluations, treatment, and needed follow-up as recommended by medical/dental professionals. We also care for individualized health needs and provide a healthy and safe environment for all children. Our program manages the prenatal care of pregnant women by ensuring medical and dental examinations and recommended treatment. We provide educational classes pertaining to prenatal and infant care such as breast feeding, nutrition, labor and delivery, SIDS, fetal growth/development, and postpartum depression.
Nutrition ServicesSHARE Birth to Five programs meets each child's nutritional needs including children with special dietary needs. We provide infant formula and meet age appropriate feeding requirements and schedules, including breakfast, lunch and snack. Meals are planned and supervised by a Register Dietician and include foods which are high in essential nutrients and low in sugar, salt and fat. In order to promote socialization and broaden children's food preferences, foods with a variety of color, texture and taste are served family-style. Growth assessments are obtained twice a year and necessary follow-up is provided in cooperation with parents and our Registered Dietician. Pregnant women receive nutritional assessments and education pertaining to breast feeding, infant formula and feeding technique. Breast feeding is supported with an area of comfort and privacy including appropriate storage of breast milk and formula.
The following links will provide more information on child nutrition;
EducationSHARE Birth to Five Education Services provides children with a solid foundation for school readiness and life success. SHARE Birth to Five implements the High/Scope curriculum as an open framework to provide individualized instruction for all children. A child with special needs can increase their learning and social abilities in a group with typical children. Enhancement curriculums are interwoven to provide all children opportunities to strengthen intrinsic motivation for later learning. We continue to influence the developmental competence of children birth to five through the implementation of our school readiness goals. Our school readiness goals align with the Head Start Framework, South Carolina's Standards Birth to Five, and High Scope Key Developmental Indicators. We strive to raise the quality of education for children by maintaining national accreditation sanctioned through National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
The following links will provide additional information:
Volunteers support SHARE's Mission with children and families
Volunteers are needed to contribute their time and talents to our program. Volunteers are welcome to share in all activities to provide opportunities to build relationships, and become positive role models with children in classroom settings. Volunteers also provide administrative support and enable us to meet our non-federal match. SHARE Head Start offers Volunteer Orientation throughout the school year to familiarize volunteers with our policies and procedures. We are grateful for your interest and contributions.
Disability ServicesSHARE Head Start recognizes the importance of school readiness for all children. A child with special needs can increase his or her learning and social abilities more readily in a group with typical children. At the beginning of each program year, all children are provided the following screenings: Speech/language, sensory, behavioral and developmental screenings. Each child suspected of a disability or behavioral concerns will be referred to the Disability Specialist. The teaching team will provide necessary strategies and discuss concerns with the child's parent before a referral is made. Our program work closely with the local school districts, BabyNet and other community agencies to provide services to meet the special learning needs of children and their families. SHARE Head Start adheres to the federal mandate of ensuring that not less than 10% of our enrollment are children with disabilities.
Mental Health ServicesHead Start recognizes the importance of providing mental health and psychological services to children in order to promote healthy development. A mental health professional is available to provide scheduled classroom observations, consultations and training to staff and parents to make them aware of the need for early attention to the special concerns of children. SHARE Head Start collaborates with community agencies that provide services to meet the social and emotional needs of Head Start children and families. The Disability Specialist will work with the parent(s), the teacher, the teacher assistant, the center manager and community agencies to serve the child's social and emotional development.
Community Involvement/ Referrals of children with Special NeedsSHARE Head Start welcomes and appreciates all referrals of children with special needs that are provided to Head Start/Early Head start. Community agencies such as BabyNet, the Meyer Center for Special Children , A Child's Haven, The Dept. of Disabilities and Special Needs Board (DDSN), local pediatricians, School Districts, Mental Health clinics , DHEC, The School for the Deaf and Blind and among many others, refer children with special needs to our program. Inclusion works, children with atypical behavior learn more readily with their typical peers. Children receive on-site intervention services, speech services, part-day and itinerant special education services at their designated Head Start / Early Head Start centers.
Social Services/ERSEAThe Social Services area is designed to implement the SHARE Birth to Five Eligibility, Recruitment, Selection, Enrollment and Attendance (ERSEA) Plans for homeless children, children in foster care, families receiving public assistance (SSI/TANF), income eligible children, and children with disabilities, including severe disabilities. This area also develops, coordinates and implements child abuse and neglect training for staff and parents.
Family EngagementSHARE Birth to Five Family Engagement services builds relationships with families that support family well-being, strong relationships between parents and their children, and ongoing learning and development for both parents and children. Our staff provides parents with opportunities for growth as they learn to identify their own strengths, needs, interests and find their own solutions; nurture the development of their children within their family and culture; and build trust and collaborative relationships between parents, staff and the community. We depend on our parents, families and the community to make our program successful.
Our staff encourages and builds family relationships by:
- Helping parents establish and progress toward family and child development goals
- Providing parents with opportunities for interactions and meetings with other parents, program staff and community agencies
- Providing parent education activities that are responsive to parents needs
- Providing opportunities for parents to be included in the program curriculum
- Connecting the family with community resources and organizations
- Providing opportunities to continue education and employment training/services
- Promoting parent participation in literacy opportunities/services
- Assisting families to participate in community projects