HeadStart (silly questions)

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by webmistress, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Aug 11, 2011

    Head Start (silly questions)

    I don't have orientation until the end of this month. I know they will cover a lot then; so I'm not even in teacher mode yet. However, I am wondering how much will the state control everything I do?

    This is the way I think it is,....the state will decide exactly what you must have in your room, how it must look, how it must be arranged, how much you can have, and they will also pay for it?

    We don't have to buy our own supplies do we?

    So, if I wanted to do something personal such as send newsletters, or send welcoming postcards home to parents, or bring in an extra poster to my class or something to personalize it, or read a trade book for 5 minutes, or have the kids do show and tell, or play Holiday music, do a special craft...etc....the state can overrule and I won't be able to do anything they don't approve of no matter how small?

    That's the way I think HS is from my online readings on this board, and I'm wondering if I'm off base or do you actually have some sort of creative & personal voice even if it is a small voice.

    We will use Creative Curriculum and when I Google it it just takes me to the program to buy it.
     
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  3. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Aug 11, 2011

    Head Start is a federal program with lots of federal guidelines that must be followed. Here in CPS the program is run by CPS where you have to follow both CPS and federal guidelines, but the state is not involved at all (they oversee a separate Pre-k program). I think it will depend on how your program is set up, but we were able to do things like write a newsletter and select read-alouds without intervention. Somedays it was the "shut the door and do what you want." but when the Feds came in- you best be sure that the teeth are being brushed and the family style is happening.
     
  4. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    :thanks::thanks:
     
  5. pink

    pink Rookie

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    I taught at Head Start and I felt like it was the complete opposite of what you are describing. I was able to plan whatever I wanted to do, as long as it followed state and Head Start standards, which are developmentally appropriate and didn't interfere with what I wanted to do. We could send things home to parents and read whatever we wanted to. There were a few things that we had to follow stricter rules: we couldn't celebrate holidays (we would get around that by having, say, a "Friendship Party" for Valentine's Day), we weren't allowed to give students any food that was not provided by Head Start (I think that was more of our specific food licensing arrangement), and tooth brushing had to be a daily activity. There were a couple of curriculum programs that had to be incorporated (Second Step and something else....I can't remember at the moment). I felt very free in what I was able to do.
     
  6. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Sounds great Pink!! I hope my experiences will be the same as yours.
     
  7. pink

    pink Rookie

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    I hope so, too! It really allowed me to grow as a teacher since I had so much freedom.
     
  8. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Aug 12, 2011

    Head Start follows many policies and proceedures to ensure consistant and quality programs. I would wait until an orientation before buying anything on my own. For instance, no commerical posters are allowed. The children's work must be the focus of the stuff on the walls. If you want a poster, the children can make one. Story books must be Developmentally Appropriate, but you can choose them. The only issues you might have are in deciding what is DAP. There should be a staff member to help you. (If not, A to Z can help.)
     
  9. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I agree with Blue, you have a large amount of control, but being DAP is important and the food stuff is non-negotiable.
     
  10. HappyLearning

    HappyLearning Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2011

    I also teach at Head Start and enjoy more freedom there than I did teaching in the public schools. There is a long list of federal head start standards, but there's flexibility in the way that your program chooses to implement them. Yeds, we eat family style and the kids brush their teeth and we have to take roll every time we move from one location to another, but when it comes to teaching (and not just managing), I have had so much flexibility in what I teach and how I teach it. In our school, we definately do Christmas and all other holidays

    There are a few levels of Creative Curriculum they may be using. For a long time, we had a list of objectives for each child, and it was up to us to create lesson plans that would bring each child to reaching the goals by the end of the year. The website component allows you to enter observations on each child, and also rate each child in their progress toward meeting the objectives. This year, we purchased some actualy curriculum and lesson plans, I'm interested to dig into them for next year.

    One more thing is that our school pays for nearly ever whim, every training, every mile we drive to do home visits, etc.

    I absolutely love teaching Head Start, I hope you have a super experience!
     
  11. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Aug 13, 2011

    Each Head Start is different!

    For example, in our HS we use commercial posters.

    I would encourage you to explore this site (see below) that tells you any and all things about Head Start. Set up an account and e-mail alerts so that you will be in the know about what goes on in this federal program.

    Program funds for all Head Starts are limited. Our program does not buy whatever teachers want or desire. We just do not have the money for that. We do have money for trainings because those are specific training funds and the funds can ONLY be spent for training. That is a plus!

    We have many assessments and screenings and our lesson plans are very detailed. We use a research-based curriculum and outcomes must be tied to the curriculum. Head Start is required to have 10% of its child population be children with special needs. I would make sure I have a good background in creating an inclusive classroom. If possible, try to get your class list ahead of time so that you can prepare to meet the needs of each student.

    There are MANY regulations that we have to follow as we are a NAEYC accreditted program. So we follow regular child care licensing standards, NAEYC, Head Start and I forget the other one! We have numerous assessments/screenings we do throughout the year. More so than other HS so this is a bit daunting for our new teachers.

    Be prepared for the PAPERWORK. This is the one area you have to be super organized in! Begin to think about setting up some kind of system to stay ahead of the flood.

    Some teachers are not comfortable doing home visits so make sure you prepare yourself for this. Just be prepared for anything when you visit a home.

    It is a great experience if you happen to be in an exemplary program! I wish you the best!

    http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc
     
  12. webmistress

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    Aug 13, 2011

    Thanks guys, it's sounding better than I thought. I had read so many HS horror stories. Plus, I'm cautious of anything in the education field because with my public school experience my principal was a micromanaging tyrant and the district was extremely oppressive. We didn't have even the slight professional voice like some other districts do. I felt strangled and my creativity was completely crushed.

    So, I'm still dealing with mentally overcoming those things as that's my only teaching experience so far. It's like I don't want to get excited about HS because I'm afraid something bad will happen.

    But I look forward to the end of this month where I will get my feet wet. I will check out that site pre-k.
     
  13. webmistress

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    Aug 24, 2011

    okay! Had 1st day of orientation. All went well, they pretty much said a lot of what has been said on this board (eating what the kids eat, brushing teeth, strong parent communication etc) there were no surprises for me, except this....

    Some of the kids won't be potty trained. Also there will be 3 year olds. So there will be 3, 4, and 5 year olds together, and we will have to change pull-ups if need be. I didn't exactly see that one coming, but it's still okay.
     
  14. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Aug 25, 2011

    Yes. Our classes combine ages 3-5. We tell our teachers the same.

    The HS programs near me do separate by age. This is what I mean by each HS being a little different. They have a 3s class, 4s class, and a high 4s class for those that just missed the cutoff for kindergarten.

    This is an interview question that I have added. Some teachers do not want to work with the younger 3s or change pull-ups.
     
  15. webmistress

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    Aug 26, 2011

    First 3 days of orientation done, and I am loving what I am learning so far!!!!!!! The first 2 days were kind of an overview, kind of technical and boring, but today we got to the nitty gritty and I really really love the philosophy of Head Start. It is really everything I think the public schools should be. I am always complaining that public schools do things that are developmentally inappropriate, things without reason, compare the children to each unfairly, and IGNORE the whole child---their mental, physical, emotional, and developmental health. So far, HS focuses on all of this important factors, so it will be great as a teacher to not be expected to "have all students mastering the same skill at the same time" like what is being pushed in the world of education, which runs me crazy.
    I can go and on for days about that. Also, Creative Curriculum is exactly what it says....CREATIVE. We are allowed to do whatever we want as for themes, projects, class decorations, stories etc, as long as it follows all of the guidelines/laws/procedures/standards etc, they don't care how we get there, as long as we get there. Another thing I wish happened in public schools. So far, it's all sounding great. All of my supervisors also sound like they have realistic and fair expectations of us. This is great, because it all starts with a good boss and so far, they all are vibing with what I believe in.

    Lots of (academically-based) field trips as well! It depends on your class, you don't have to wait for all teachers in the school to go. Things are based on what the students are interested in--not some state mandate. I just love this!!!!!!!! So each class can be doing something totally different. Love it!!!

    I'm so thankful, and cautious, and have a lot more to say but I am exhausted!
    I got a taste of the paperwork and I have at least 400 pages of rules/procedures/guidelines/forms

    preK Teacher, yes I was thinking that the 3 year old will be in a separate room. I had to ask the director today how many I would have because I have no early childhood experience, age 4 is out of my comfort zone and age 3 is like, whoa. But because of the philosophy of HS (individualized to the child's needs) I think I'll be fine.
     
  16. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Aug 27, 2011

    Sorry, I am going to need a blog when AtoZ starts the blogs. Let me also add some more points and I know these vary from place to place but this may help answer someone else's general questions about Head Start because there's really not that much info about it:

    --We must become First Aid and CPR certified

    --Strong parent communication. We have an open door policy where they can come without appointment. We also have a 'parent room' where they can come use the computer and spend time at the school

    --Meetings with parents monthly, the entire staff/school, something like a PTA/PTO

    --They want very little to no store-bought/commercial decorations in the classroom. This makes sense because you want to give the parents ideas about how they can make educational things at home on their own

    --No worksheets. This is fine with me because they are prek after all

    --Parent-Child Activities, but not homework
    --No teacher's desks or chairs (fine with me, I never use a teacher's desk. I'm very small so I'll be ok in a preK chair if need be)

    --Video cameras in the classroom. Fine by me because I won't have to worry about a child accusing me of doing something I didn't do

    --We must always be on time to eat, no exceptions. This is because if the USDA comes and we are not eating on time, we can lose money (I forgot exactly why we would lose money, but it somehow made sense because of the funding)

    --No graduation but instead a Closing Celebration with all family and friends. We have to come up with a theme and it sounds awesome!!!!!!! They say it is usually a blast!! Sounds better than a graduation. They say a formal graduation is not age-appropriate and is just a show for parents, and again I have to agree, but I never thought about it this way before.

    --They don't want us to force the kids to walk in a straight line...

    --On the playground, we are expected to continue to interact with the kids even swing, slide, play games if need be, but we are not supposed to sit around and talk

    ------------

    My supervisors are extremely knowledgeable, passionate, and organized. This is key to me having a pleasant experience.

    On the personal side, my classroom has those big ole windows that take up an entire wall. It's the way old school buildings were made and I love it! I have always wanted a classroom with very big windows! The playground is large and has huge oak trees.

    I will meet my coteacher Monday.
     
  17. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Aug 28, 2011

    I hope you have a GREAT year with your HS class!
     
  18. webmistress

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    Pre-K thanks for your response! I felt like I was talking to myself for a minute. I guess everyone is busy working. I visited the link you posted but I had no understanding as to what they were saying. Now that I've had some orientation and the lady broke a lot of it down into bits and pieces I can grasp it all a little better, but it's all so much. I will sign up for site notifications because honestly, I think HS may be on the chopping block in the future. Sad, but from some of the things floating around in the political world, programs like these are a target and that's unfortunate.

    I can agree on the commercial stuff. I do plan to at least buy bulletin board borders and letters. Most of the rest of the decorations will be student work but I don't plan to spend hours making stuff, so I would probably print stuff from online and then just laminate. I am not crafty.

    I was thinking about chairs for lunch. I hope we at least have adult chairs for that. I will see how I do. I have scoliosis so I need to be careful in that regard.

    We will be using Creative Curr. 5th edition, I hope we get the book Monday. Lesson plans have to b turned in a week in advance to when you will teach. There is already a lesson plan template we have to use and she said it will be about 3 pages per lesson plan. It's time to get into the flow of that next week.

    I have 20 kids :eek: I wish it was a little less. That will be 40 home visits.

    I was also thinking this. I wish there was a way the Head Start philosophy could expand to be used for older kids of Elementary age.
     
  19. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    There are many aspects of HS that should be implemented at the elementary age.
     
  20. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Need help!!!!! I just learned that we cannot have assigned seats for the kids. Now when they said that no names can be on desks, I did not think that meant no assigned seats, period. So basically, the children are supposed to choose their own seats each day.

    That is crazy and I'm trying to think of a unique way where I'm really still in control and organized but it 'appears' they are choosing their own seats. I can't think of anything right now, but anyone should know that huge problems arise when children have too many choices and freedom. On top of that, the behavior issues are a lot, from what I am hearing, the kids have hit the teachers before and kids will take off running down the hallway because they don't know they're not supposed to and so on. I can understand them being confused when school first starts, but the running shouldnt be a common thing throughout the year unless it's for maybe a child known as a 'runner.'
     
  21. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Are you speaking to circle time? You can make seat spots and call it a name recognition activity. These are individual pieces so that you can place them where you want the kids to sit. For mealtimes, you can dismiss them in a certain order to wash hands and let them choose their own seat.

    Now behaviors with HS are a different ballgame. Most of the children we enroll have not had ANY preschool experience. Some are 4 years old. You have to have lots of patience, be consistent and firm from the BEGINNING. This is where a lot of teachers make their mistake. You need to have a specific plan for transitions and there are many of them in HS. Gather as much information about social/emotional development ahead of time to help yourself. We do lots of training just for this topic. You could set up a feelings chart for kids to identify how they feel when they enter the class and you can discuss it at circle time. Talk about feelings and do lots of activities.

    HS does not believe in exiting children due to behavior. You should get lots of support in meeting the needs of the children in your class in this area.

    Lastly, we seem to have a LOT of kids that are 3 almost 4 and NOT potty trained! Its driving the teachers nuts.
     
  22. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Prek,:thumb:phew so glad you responded.

    We also have tables and chairs in the room along with the circle time carpet. Pardon my ignorance as I'm from upper elementary, I am thinking that when kids enter they go sit at a table/chair, but instead it seems they go directly to the carpet for greetings and circle time? As I'm looking at my unclear schedule it says they will participate in 'quiet activities', eat, then have morning meeting (circle time?)... I'm just used to tables first then carpet.

    I will go over the schedule tomorrow with coteacher, but, according to my coteacher, we still can't assign seats to the tables and chairs. I think tables/chairs are only used for small group instruction?

    The 'feeling' idea at the beginning of the day sounds great.

    :thanks::thanks:for all of your help!
     
  23. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Sep 2, 2011

    No problem!
     
  24. webmistress

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    Sep 2, 2011

    It makes better sense now, thanks again so much!
     

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