Description: The Head Start Program is based on the premise that all children share certain needs and that children of low income families, in particular, can benefit from a comprehensive developmental program to meet those needs. The Head Start approach make the following assumptions:
A child can benefit from a comprehensive, interdisciplinary program to foster development.
Because the family is the principal influence on the child's development, the child's family, as well as the community, must be involved in the program.
The overall goal of the Head Start Program is to bring about a greater degree of social competence in children of low-income families. Social competence means the child's everyday effectiveness in dealing with both the present environment and later responsibilities in school and in life. Social competence takes into account the interrelatedness of cognitive and intellectual development, physical and mental health,nutritional needs as well as other factors. To achieve social competence, Head Start objectives and performance standards provide for:
Improvement of the child's health and physical abilities, including appropriate steps to correct physical and mental health problems and to enhance every child's access to an adequate diet.
Improvement of the family's attitude toward future health care and physical abilities.
Encouragement of self-confidence, spontaneity, curiosity and self-discipline that will assist the child's social and emotional health.
Enhancement of the child's mental processes and skill, with particular attention to conceptual and communication skills.
Establishment of patterns and expectations for success for the child that will create a climate of confidence for present and future learning efforts and overall development.
Enhancement of the ability of the child and the family to relate to one another and to others.
Development of a sense of dignity and self-worth within the child and his family.
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