INFANTS AND TODDLERS
The first five years of a child’s life are extremely critical in setting the foundation that shapes their future health, happiness, growth, development and educational success. That is why we seek and strive to develop comprehensive systems that support our parents and children during these vital years.
INFANTS AND TODDLERS
Children’s earliest experiences set the stage for school success and adult productivity. Based on brain research, the brain grows rapidly creating various ways for learning and development. Research also identifies that infants and toddlers learn in the context of relationships with adults and others. Acknowledging that majority of the brain’s capacity is in place creating the ability to speak, learn and reason allows the program to flourish.
Given the wide set of socio-emotional and academic skills a child needs to learn, it can be very challenging for parents to recognize the learning opportunities that is presented each and every day. The program’s primary focus is to introduce new experiences to trigger and entice a child’s imagination while providing a healthy and safe environment.
Press release: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2014pres/12/20141210a.html
Award list: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ecd/early-learning/ehs-cc-partnerships/grant-awardees
EARLY HEAD START
Early Head Start provides early, continuous, intensive, and comprehensive child development and family support services to low-income pregnant women, infants and toddlers and their families.
The Goals of Early Head Start
- To provide safe and developmentally enriching care giving which promotes the physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of infants and toddlers, and prepares them for future growth and development;
- To support parents, both mothers and fathers, in their role as primary caregivers and teachers of their children, and families in meeting personal goals and achieving self sufficiency across a wide variety of domains;
- To mobilize communities to provide the resources and environment necessary to ensure a comprehensive, integrated array of services and support for families;
- To ensure the provision of high quality responsive services to family through the development of trained, and caring staff.
The Principles of Early Head Start
These principles are designed to nurture healthy attachments between parent and child (and child and caregiver), emphasize a strengths-based, relationship-centered approach to services, and encompass the full range of a family’s needs from pregnancy through a child’s third birthday.
- 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 a 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, including 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 thought and attention paid to movements across program options and into—and out of—Early Head Start programs.
- Collaboration is, simply put, 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