It was October 22, 1982 when President Ronald Reagan first proclaimed October as Head Start Awareness Month. Since then, every October communities across the country have been engaging in important activities to commemorate the impact of Head Start on our nation’s children.
Since its founding in 1965, by President Lyndon B. Johnson, Head Start has served over 37 million income-eligible children and families through comprehensive early learning, health, nutrition, and family support services. Head Start is the most researched comprehensive early education program in the history of our country and its services can be found across the nation through various service models and in every corner and community of the Show-Me-State.
For more information about the history of Head Start and the many good works of the Head Start advantage, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBS-fcY4Tc8
During the month of October, the Missouri Head Start State Collaboration Office and the Missouri Head Start Association, along with Missouri Head Start and Early Head Start programs will continue this celebration, showcase success stories, and honor Head Start Awareness Month! This is such an important opportunity to reflect on and appreciate this significant, innovative, resilient, comprehensive program.
While the COVID-19 pandemic may have changed how services are delivered for communities in Missouri during this challenging time, it has also created opportunities for Head Start programs to deepen partnerships with families, schools, health providers, and the child care system. The role of Head Start to serve children and families in communities’ remains steadfast. Supporting school readiness and partnering with families to support child and family well-being remain as a top priority. Through activities such as supplies and food “drop-offs”, hybrid learning options, and deepened partnerships with health departments and school systems, Early Head Start and Head Start programs continue to find innovative strategies to engage with children and families.
Early Head Start and Head Start not only represents a strong federal program that prepares young children from low-income families for success in school and beyond, they are vital programs within the context of the early care and education system in Missouri.
This month provides a special time to extend the great news about Head Start, its benefits continue to be recognized by policymakers and the public throughout the year. For more information about Missouri Head Start, including Missouri Head Start locations and contact information, please visit www.moheadstart.org.
To learn more about Missouri Head Start there are two short videos available:
- Your Missouri Head Start
- Embracing Differences: A Head Start Tradition:
Head Start is the national commitment that every child and family can succeed in life and thanks to outstanding staff, partners and family leaders together we can continue to prepare children for success. Thank you for helping us celebrate this October and all the ways as partners you continue to support Head Start throughout the year too!
About the authors
Stacey Wright is the Director of the Missouri Head Start State Collaboration Office.
Tina Bernskoetter is the Executive Director of the Missouri Head Start Association.