Madison County Head Start is a comprehensive child development program for pre-school children age three to five and their families. The program has a long tradition of delivering comprehensive and high quality services designed to foster healthy development in low-income children. Madison County Head Start provides a range of individualized services in the areas of education and early childhood development; medical, dental, and mental health; nutrition; and parent involvement. In addition, the entire range of Head Start services is responsive and appropriate to each child and family's developmental, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage and experience. Madison County Head Start serves 189 children in 5 center and 2 child care partnership sites located throughout the county.
Early Childhood Education – Head Start's educational program is designed to meet the needs of each child. Every child receives a variety of learning experiences to foster intellectual, social and emotional growth.
Health Services - Head Start emphasizes the importance of the early identification of health problems. Preventative health services are central to Head Start’s comprehensive approach. All children receive developmental, behavioral, vision and hearing screenings. Early identification of health related needs ensure that each child receives medical, dental, mental health and nutritional care. Ten percent of children enrolled in Head Start must be children with a diagnosed disability. Madison County Head Start children with disabilities receive itinerant services in an inclusive setting. Therapists work with children in the areas of speech and language, occupational and physical therapy, and special education.
Parent Involvement – Parents are recognized as their child first and most important teacher, so an essential part of Head Start is the involvement of parents in all aspects of the program, from volunteering in the classroom to sharing decisions that shape the program by serving on Policy Council. Parents participate in workshops on child development and discipline, nutrition and healthy lifestyles and other topics designed to meet the needs of families.
Family Services - Specific services are geared to each family after their needs and strengths are determined. They include: community outreach, referrals, family needs and strengths assessments, recruitment and enrollment of children, and emergency assistance and/or crisis intervention.