Like all students, preschoolers in Head Start programs across Santa Barbara County, faced an abrupt end to the in-classroom school year when stay-at-home orders were issued March 13 in response to the growing threat from Covid-19.
Following guidance from state and local authorities, Head Start programs are set to resume July 6. “We plan to reopen all 24 of our preschool centers from Guadalupe to Cuyama to Carpinteria,” said Lorraine Neenan, CAC Children’s Services program director.
“In working towards this July 6 reopen date for the 3-to-5-year-olds in Head Start full day, full time, we are preparing for 10 students per classroom instead of the usual 17 to 20 students,” said Neenan. “We will have the extra classrooms to accomplish this since the part time, part day students won’t yet be returning. It’s not yet clear how many students will be returning, or how many new enrollees we might have when we reopen.”
A healthy breakfast, lunch and nutritious snacks are provided Monday through Friday to all students. Head Start participants receive a variety of learning experiences to foster intellectual, physical, social and emotional growth. Children participate in indoor and outdoor play and are introduced to the concepts of words and numbers to ensure they are ready for kindergarten. They are encouraged to express their feelings, and to develop self-confidence and the ability to get along with others.
“We see Head Start of Santa Barbara County as an important asset in building strong, self-sufficient families which, in turn, strengthens our community,” Neenan said. For more information call (805) 964-885 ext. #1194 or visit cacsb.org.