Early Childhood Education Services  

Murray Head Start provides early childhood education services to children birth to three through Early Head Start. The program provides services for preschool age children through Preschool/Head Start.

Early Head Start:

Early Head Start services are provided through either center-based or home-based options. Centers are located in Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, and McCracken counties. The home-based option is available in all counties of the service area with the exception of Calloway and Hickman counties. Child care providers in Early Head Start must obtain a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential in Infant/Toddler instruction.

Preschool/Head Start:

Preschool/Head Start services for 3 and 4-year-old children are provided through partnerships with 11 local school districts in the 8-county service area. All preschool teachers are certified in the State of Kentucky and hold a bachelor's, master's, or higher degree in Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education (IECE) or a related early education degree. All teacher assistants are required to obtain a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.

Philosophy:

The Murray Head Start educational program is designed to meet each child's individual needs. This program is developed in collaboration with parents and provides an environment that is developmentally and linguistically appropriate. This environment helps children develop socially, intellectually, physically, and emotionally in a manner appropriate to their age and stage of development. An individualized approach is taken toward assessing a child's needs and strengths. A daily program is designed to respond to those needs and build upon those strengths.

Murray Head Start firmly believes that a parent is their child's most important teacher. Because of this, Head Start encourages parents to become involved at all levels of the program, especially in classroom volunteering. By participating in the classroom, parents will learn a variety of skills ranging from observation to guidance techniques. Their contact in the classroom also allows them to share observations with staff to enhance planning for their child.

Curriculum Approach:

Murray Head Start implements a curriculum in collaboration with parents which facilitates the development and learning of all children. This curriculum is consistent with Head Start Revised Performance Standards and is based on sound child development principles.

Goals for children's development and learning are facilitated through Murray Head Start's curriculum. The process for developing these goals is outlined in the curriculum plan. This process includes both child assessment for individualization and benchmarks provided by Creative Curriculum, the Head Start Framework, Kentucky's Early Childhood Standards, and other resources for developmental indicators. Developmentally appropriate activities are then implemented with attention to the different needs, interests, developmental levels, family priorities, and cultural backgrounds of individual children.

The Creative Curriculum:

The Creative Curriculum is a comprehensive early childhood education system that emphasizes a "practical" and "easy to understand" approach for working with children.

The Creative Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers provides a comprehensive framework that emphasizes that relationships between caregivers/teachers and children and their families form the basis of curriculum for very young children.

The Creative Curriculum for Early Childhood describes and demonstrates how to plan a developmentally appropriate program focusing on ten well-organized learning centers. Its underlying philosophy draws from accepted theories of how children learn best. The approach is practical, easy-to-understand, and immediately applicable to a variety of settings.

Child Assessment:

Child Assessment is an ongoing process. Staff observe children throughout the year and enter three checkpoints into CreativeCurriculum.net. CreativeCurriculum.net is a secure, interactive, online assessment system based on the Creative Curriculum Developmental Continuum. The system includes reporting functions that are useful for reporting outcomes from multiple sites, interactive parent communication and involvement, individualized teaching strategies based on children's developmental profiles, and discussion groups and articles.