Jun 13

Head Start Stories

Since 1965, Head Start has served millions of children and families by promoting school readiness, by providing comprehensive services, and by emphasizing the role of parents as their child’s first and most important teacher. There are stories of how Head Start has impacted the lives of the children, parents, neighbors, and staff that have been involved in its programs. This is one of our employees stories, but check out all the stories on the Head Start web site http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/hs – about us and Head Start stories. Kelly Compton “From my experience as a Head Start parent, I bring empathy to my role within the agency.” Kelly Compton, preschool/school-age education coordinator, the Council on Rural Services, Logan County, OH When I first read about Head Start in the newspaper, I was 23 years old. I had already been married for almost four years and was the mother of a 3 year old and a 1 year old. I was and still am very passionate about the success of my children. Head Start would be just that—a head start for their learning. Each child would have their own unique experience in Head Start. My daughter’s outgoing nature helped her ease quickly into the preschool environment and the teachers nurtured her eagerness to always be learning. This fostered in her a drive to be a lifelong learner and supported her in having a successful public school experience. My son, on the other hand, gave the teachers a true run for their money. He struggled with self-regulation, focus, and attention. Even though he was challenging, they saw through his behaviors and found his great sense of humor and his overwhelming curiosity about the world. The Head Start teachers helped discover he was a kinesthetic learner and found ways to engage him to encourage focus and attention. This positive support would serve him well, as he moved through the public school system. Although, the original idea was to help the children, Head Start ended up helping me just as much. The Head Start teachers saw something in me that I had not sensed myself yet: an aptitude and passion for early childhood education. They encouraged me to volunteer, be involved in the parent group and Policy Council, and finally, to apply for a position with Head Start in Hardin County, OH. After several years of working there and at a local daycare, I applied for an assistant teacher position with the Council on Rural Services, the Head Start agency in Logan County, OH and eight other counties. I literally “grew up” with Head Start and the Council on Rural Services. The assistant teacher position was just the tip of the iceberg for me. The Council on Rural Services employs many dedicated people who embody the Head Start early childhood education philosophy and impacted my professional career, in addition to my life as a whole. Throughout the past 15 years with Council on Rural Services and Head Start, I have been encouraged and supported to complete my associate’s degree, and then my Bachelor’s degree along with gaining positions within the agency of increasing responsibility. It has been a journey from assistant to head teacher, then area coordinator, and finally the position I now hold as preschool/school age education coordinator for all nine counties. From my experience as a Head Start parent, I bring empathy to my role within the agency. I can honestly say: “I know what you are going through,” or “I know how you feel” to parents of the children we serve. I have walked in the low-income shoes, young parent shoes, and parent-of-a-challenging-child shoes. I know the joys and upsets of being a parent. I also have learned the value of advocacy. Not only did I advocate for my own children, but for other children as well, because all children deserve equal opportunities to grow, learn, and succeed and have dedicated adults to stand up and make the children’s voices heard. From all the people who have enriched my life and career I have learned to lead by example and share the experience and knowledge with others. I endeavor every day to support and share my experience with peers and new staff members, as others have done for me through example and mentorship. By the way, my children have grown up too. My daughter is now a wife and mother to our first grandchild. She has put her career in early childhood education on hold to be full time with her son in these formative years. My son will soon become a shift supervisor at a nearby manufacturing facility. We have all benefited from the wonderful experiences we had and continue to have with Head Start!  

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Mar 21

Local Child Care Earns Highest Five Star Award For Excellence

Council on Rural Services is proud to announce that the Kids Learning Place located in Union City has earned their “FIVE Star Rating” in the Step Up to Quality program from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.  Kids Learning Place is the only Five Star Award program in Darke County. Congratulations go to each of the center’s team members for their focused efforts, dedication, and improvements in the growth and develop of all the children. Step Up to Quality is a voluntary five-step child care rating system that early care and education centers can earn in Ohio.  It recognizes programs that exceed licensing standards.  Once they meet the basic requirements, participating centers earn star ratings from 1 to 5 by meeting an extensive list of additional quality measures. Angie Coby, early childhood services coordinator for Darke Co. at Council on Rural Services said, “Learning begins as soon as a child is born, long before formal education begins, and continues throughout life.  We are very proud of the excellent—high achieving team that made this top award happen. The team members are resourceful, focused and determined in meeting a common goal in their work with the children. FIVE STAR rated programs must meet higher requirements than most other child care centers. Just some of the five star benchmarks that helps centers meet these higher standards include: administrators and teachers with bachelor degrees in early childhood as well as 25 hours of specialized training bi-annually, a formal self-assessment that is used to formulate the program’s annual continuous improvement plan, agreements with community partners serving families, child assessments used to plan activities for children according to needs, interests, and the abilities of the children.  If you are a parent choosing an education center for your child; remember a program that meets this Step Up to Quality measurement is furnishing a more qualified teacher per child, is committed to teaching children, and has a working environment where staff is treated professionally.  Beginning this fall the Kids Learning Place in Union City will become a full day Head Start center, teaching children 6 hours a day.    We are taking applications now for fall, if you would like more information about our center and enrollment for Head Start please call our local toll free number at 1-866-627-4557 for quick contact.  For more information about Kids Learning Place and Council on Rural Services – programs for innovative learning, check the web site at www.councilonruralservices.org

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Dec 23

Staff Training Week

Teaching staff and Child Advocates enjoyed a training opportunity on Monday, Dec 21 around STEM provided by Patti Jo Wilson, a trainer from Lakeshore.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  Discussion began with how people learn/retain best with retention being highest when learning is experienced and when we teach others. Providing materials and activities in the classroom that promote STEM concepts encourage creativity, invention, curiosity, and persistence.  Children become thinkers and problem solvers while developing multiple steps, strategies, and deeper levels of understanding.  Connections were made between the use of STEM concepts and our School Readiness goals, the HS Early Learning Outcomes Framework, Project Approach, and CLASS. Staff experienced this through simple childhood games, early childhood songs, and construction challenges with playing cards and then spaghetti and marshmallows.  Staff laughed, teamed, experienced failure of designs and tried again, pushed the boundaries, and thought outside the box.   It was a great training,      

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