Early Childhood Education Services  

Murray Head Start provides early childhood education services to children birth to three through Early Head Start. The program provides services for preschool age children through Preschool/Head Start.

Early Head Start:

Early Head Start services are provided through either center-based or home-based options. Centers are located in Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, and McCracken counties. The home-based option is available in all counties of the service area with the exception of Calloway and Hickman counties. Child care providers in Early Head Start must obtain a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential in Infant/Toddler instruction.

Preschool/Head Start:

Preschool/Head Start services for 3 and 4-year-old children are provided through partnerships with 11 local school districts in the 8-county service area. Because of our partnerships, Murray Head Start is able to employ high quality teaching staff. Currently 98% of our preschool teachers have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education (IECE) or a related early education degree, and 84% have obtained a master's degree or above. All teacher assistants are required to obtain a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential or equivalent early childhood education training.

Philosophy:

The Murray Head Start educational program is designed to meet each child's individual needs. This program is developed in collaboration with parents and provides an environment that is developmentally and linguistically appropriate. This environment helps children develop socially, intellectually, physically, and emotionally in a manner appropriate to their age and stage of development. An individualized approach is taken toward assessing a child's needs and strengths. A daily program is designed to respond to those needs and build upon those strengths.

Murray Head Start firmly believes that a parent is their child's most important teacher. Because of this, Head Start encourages parents to become involved at all levels of the program, especially in classroom volunteering. By participating in the classroom, parents will learn a variety of skills ranging from observation to guidance techniques. Their contact in the classroom also allows them to share observations with staff to enhance planning for their child.

Curriculum Approach:

Murray Head Start implements a curriculum in collaboration with parents which facilitates the development and learning of all children. This curriculum is consistent with Head Start Revised Performance Standards and is based on sound child development principles.

Goals for children's development and learning are facilitated through Murray Head Start's curriculum. The process for developing these goals is outlined in the curriculum plan. This process includes both child assessment for individualization and benchmarks provided by Creative Curriculum, the Head Start Framework, Kentucky's Early Childhood Standards, and other resources for developmental indicators. Developmentally appropriate activities are then implemented with attention to the different needs, interests, developmental levels, family priorities, and cultural backgrounds of individual children.

The Creative Curriculum:

The Creative Curriculum is a comprehensive early childhood education system that emphasizes a "practical" and "easy to understand" approach for working with children.

The Creative Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers provides a comprehensive framework that emphasizes that relationships between caregivers/teachers and children and their families form the basis of curriculum for very young children.

The Creative Curriculum for Early Childhood describes and demonstrates how to plan a developmentally appropriate program focusing on ten well-organized learning centers. Its underlying philosophy draws from accepted theories of how children learn best. The approach is practical, easy-to-understand, and immediately applicable to a variety of settings.

Child Assessment:

Child Assessment is an ongoing process. Staff observe children throughout the year and enter three checkpoints into Teaching Strategies GOLD (TSGOLD).  TSGOLD is a secure, interactive, online assessment system based on 38 objectives that are predictors of school success. The system includes reporting functions that are useful for reporting outcomes from multiple sites, interactive parent communication and involvement, individualized teaching strategies based on children's developmental profiles, and discussion groups and articles.

Child Outcomes and School Readiness

Ready to Grow…Ready to Learn…Ready to Succeed

In Kentucky, school readiness means that each child enters school ready to engage in and benefit from early learning experiences that best promote the child’s success.Families, early care and education providers, school staff, and community partners must work together to provide environments and developmental experiences that promote growth and earning to ensure that all children in Kentucky enter school eager and excited to learn.

The five developmental areas for school readiness are:  Approaches to Learning, Health and Physical Well Being, Language and Communication Development, Social and Emotional Development, and Cognitive and General Knowledge.These indicators represent the hopes and aspirations for children as they grow and develop and leave our program and enter primary.  Children develop at different rates, not every child will have mastered all of the skills and behaviors listed below as the exit our program.

Physical Development and Health

Children will demonstrate control of large muscles for movement, navigation, and balance.
Children will demonstrate control of small muscles for such purposes as using utensils, self-care, building, writing, and exploring.
Children and families will practice healthy and safe habits.

Social and Emotional Development

Children will develop and demonstrate positive interactions and relationships with adults and peers.
Children will develop and demonstrate the ability to recognize and regulate emotions, attention,

Approaches to Learning

Creative Arts Expression – Children will demonstrate an interest in and participate in a variety of visual arts, dance, music and dramatic experiences.
Approaches to Learning – Children will demonstrate flexibility, inventiveness, curiosity, >motivation, persistence and engagement in learning.

Language and Literacy

Language Development – Children will be able to utilize language to express their wants and needs.Language Development – Children will engage in conversations, follow directions, and comprehend language
Literacy Knowledge and Skills – Children will be able to demonstrate knowledge of print and develop the awareness that print conveys meaning
English Language Development – Children who are dual language learners will demonstrate competency in their home language while acquiring beginning proficiency in English

Cognition and General Knowledge

Logic and reason – Children will find multiple solutions utilizing symbolic representation to questions, tasks, problems and challenges by using reasoning skills.  
Mathematics knowledge and skills – Children will use math in everyday routines to count, compare, relate, pattern and problem solve.
Science knowledge and skills - Children will engage in exploring their environments through observations, manipulation, asking questions, making predictions and development hypotheses.
Social Studies knowledge and skills – Children will engage in exploring their family and community, its history and events, and interacting with people and the environment.