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Old 03-09-2008, 04:54 PM
Miss Tucker Miss Tucker is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1
New York
Head Start interview

Hi! I am new here. I have my BS in Elem. Ed but have been working for the last 6 months in a pre-school as an assistant. Tomorrow I have an interview for a Head Start teaching position and I am really nervous! I am afraid that I won't know the answers to their questions because of my lack of experience with pre-schoolers. Any advice or possible interview questions would help to ease my nerves a bit. Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-09-2008, 05:26 PM
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moonbeamsinajar moonbeamsinajar is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 693
Think developmentally appropriate activities, learning through play, active learning, no worksheets, no sitting in desks doing seat work, & no "cookie cutter" art projects that look all alike. Think about how you would support families that are living in poverty, and how you would deal with little ones who come to school without ever having someone read to them, (who don't have any kids books in the home, but have big screen tv's and video games), who often don't eat before they come to school, who have never seen a dentist and have 6 front teeth rotted away from being propped up with a bottle (yes, we brush teeth daily), who don't have family doctors because they have no health care, but instead run to the ER for every illness. Think about how you would work with families who love their children but are so busy trying to make it through the day, that they have no energy left to give to the kids. Many of the parents have had awful experiences in school themselves. Many have dropped out of school, have had several children at an early age, are involved with children and youth agencies, have spouses in jail or out of jail, multiple partners, are involved with drugs and alcohol.

If I haven't scared you off yet, you are probably an ideal person to work for Head Start. If you really, really want to make a difference in a child's life, and make a difference for families, then HS is the place for you. Yes, it is frustrating at times to deal with so many family problems, but you can make such a big difference with HS children - moreso than you could if you were working with children of higher socio-economic levels. I see children in September who know no colors or shapes, or letters, or numbers, etc, etc. By this time of the year they have learned to count, to write their names, to sound out words and
begin to read. They show so much enthusiasm for school and learning, and have made so much progress. This is a career where you can really make a difference in a child's life. I wish you well in your interview!
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Old 03-09-2008, 05:44 PM
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GlendaLL GlendaLL is offline
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,416
Central Ohio
I agree totally with everything that moonbeams said!!!

Also, be ready to explain how you would handle the enormous amount of paperwork that is required by Head Start. There are daily forms, weekly forms, monthly forms. There are forms for everything you do in the program. "If it's not documented, it didn't happen."
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Old 03-10-2008, 12:56 AM
Master Pre-K Master Pre-K is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 5,092
Preschool Teacher
ditto all of the above.

now, for the meat and potatoes...

realize that all HS programs serve meals family style, and you will be required to eat with the children, up to 4 times a day. They may not tell you this. If you have a dietary problem or a concern with this type of arrangement, think about it carefully, or get your dr. note ready.

Realize that you will have at least one if not two assistants. Hopefully, you will have some adult supervision, as this has been a thorn in my side for decades. Understand they have already been in place, and probably have an attitude because THEY want to be lead teacher! Now you will come in and have to tell them what to do.

are you still there???

Are you physically able and willing to pick them up, sit down on the floor, and carry kids up to 40 pounds? You need to get around the room quickly. You will be indoors and outdoors, in hot sticky climates, bugs and all...every day.

Next, HS is all about paperwork. Documentation for everything. If it wasn't written down, it didn't happen. You may be lucky enough to be out of the stone age, and actually have things on computer. But, for the most part, be prepared to write and log alot of stuff!

You will go to trainings and workshops, so that is a good thing. But again, you must keep copies of all this stuff, to prove you attended.

You will also be expected to do home visits. If you are squeamish about visiting 12 people in a studio apartment, who want to serve you a meal, be warned...this is part of a job. You may be in an safe, middle class area, or you may be in the heart of the gang infested ghetto. This is the job you are applying for.

To get ready, go the the NAEYC website and read all you can. Just let developmentally appropriate roll off your tounge each time you speak. That simply means, letting kids do what is natural for their age level. Threes tear, fours cut, and fives can cut things well, get it??

Now, get your paperwork in order. You need resume, current physical (less than 1 yr old), TB test, 3 reference letters, copy of your license and ss card, original transcripts, and original or copy of teaching certificate. Make 5 copies of your portfolio package. Be preapred for a group interview. You may want to hand out a packet to each participant. You may have your fellow teacher, supervisor, and a parent volunteer. You may get the job, and have to be interviewed again by parent committee ... all part of the process.

You need to decide if you want 10 month or year round. Go for 10 months if you can. year round is all day, no breaks (except tradional holidays) until Christmas , and kids take naps. Ten month jobs, are usually 2 half day sessions - 3 1/2 hrs, break then 2nd group. Usually no kids on friday! summers off. woohoo!

hope this helps!

good luck!!!
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Old 03-10-2008, 06:36 AM
Ms Petunia Ms Petunia is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 80
New York
Preschool Teacher
I have worked in Head Start and the paper work is extremely time consuming. My first group arrives at 8 and the afternoon leaves at 3:30. I am fortunate that on Fridays I have no students but this is my day for planning, home visits, meetings, meetings, and more meetings and trainings, trainings and more trainings. My plan book and student folders are inspected monthly by our Delegate site. This can be intimidating. In the past I have been scolded for promoting unhealthy eating because I had taped a McDonalds logo and M & M wrapper on our letter M display of environmental print. Their monthly inspection (site visit) is written and kept in a file. But......... its all about the children!!!and that is the joy of working here. If you love teaching and really feel like you want to make a difference this is the place to be. The program nutures the children and the parents. You can can change the lives and future of the families in Head Start. Head Start helps parents set goals for their children and themselves. The paper work does become routine. I suggest getting a mentor or an aid placed in your program that has been working in Head Start for awhile. It is nearly impossible to read every thing their is to know about Head Start on their website. Good Luck in your interview.
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Old 03-11-2008, 06:24 PM
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moonbeamsinajar moonbeamsinajar is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 693
Miss Tucker, how did your interview go?
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:44 AM
DreamBIG_1 DreamBIG_1 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 1
Interview on Wednesday

So... I have an interview the day before thanksgiving for Head Start. Getting this call means alot to me the job I applied for was a center assistant or a sub. I have never had experience in this field. Well I tutor kids and babysit and things like that. Let me say that I plan to further my career in Early Childhood Education this is definitely the job for me. I am looking forward to making a difference in these childrens lives. Bringing all i have to offer to this Head Start program. I love working with kids bringing out their creativity and making everything fun. Not only do i get the opportunity to teach them but children have the ability to teach you as well. Not only will I help them learn new and exciting things I to will be growing. Im just curious what type of questions they ask you? WISH ME LUCK!
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:24 AM
Nitch Nitch is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 57
Substitute Teacher
I admire those that wrong in head start. I applied and interviewed last fall, but I could not bring myself to work for the pay they were offering, that and I was told I'd have health insurance for the school year but be dropped in the summer. I believe it must be a labor of love.
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