Head Start’s founders understood the connection between good nutrition, dental and health care, mental health, early intervention, family training and stability, and children’s success in school. In that spirit, Bauer provides all enrolled families and children with access to these critical resources. This commitment to comprehensive services sets Bauer Head Start apart from all other programs for young children!
Did you know that children in Head Start programs tend to have healthier weights by kindergarten than other children of the same age? Bauer Head Start promotes healthy eating habits by practicing Family Style Dining at all meals and snacks, where children eat with their teachers, serve themselves from bowls and pitchers, and dine as a family! They receive 1/2 to 2/3 of their daily recommended servings of the major food groups at no charge to families through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Our menus are reviewed and approved by a registered dietician. Children also engage in monthly hands-on nutrition activities developed and delivered by our Nutrition Team. To view our menus, click here!
Dental and Health Care
At Bauer, every day, every child and teacher brush their teeth after eating! Our children not only practice this healthy dental habit but they also engage in daily exercise activities using the I am Moving, I am Learning (IMIL) curriculum. Our health team develops and delivers monthly health and safety activities that promote healthy living and work closely with families to connect them with regular dental and health care. All children receive screenings for hearing, vision, and growth development and are referred for follow up services when needed.
Bauer’s Education Team screen all children for social-emotional development and provide daily activities that promote Bauer’s program-wide behavior expectations, called STAR.
Bauer’s licensed mental health consultant visits our classrooms monthly, providing strategies and support to teachers in their work with children. Families are encouraged to request time with the consultant for advice and support with family challenges.
Within 45 days of every child’s enrollment in our programs, our Education Team will screen the child for developmental growth. When needed, families are referred for special services and supported through the process by our Early Intervention Specialist.
Family Training and Stability
One of the most unique services provided by Bauer Head Start is our family engagement support. Each family is paired with a Family Engagement Worker who specializes in social services. Our Family Engagement Team meets regularly with their families, establishing goals, connecting families to community resources and school activities.
In addition, Bauer families share their knowledge and experience with fellow parents and program staff in many ways!
Families as Decision Makers
Head Start families guide the direction of their child’s program through participation in the program’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and Policy Council.
Parent Teacher Organization (PTO)
All families are automatically members of the PTO when they enroll in a Bauer Head Start program. PTO members plan parent activities, parent training, and provide curriculum input.
Bauer’s Policy Council is comprised of currently enrolled parents and community members that have been elected by the families in the program. The Policy Council is responsible for providing guidance to the Head Start Director and Managers on important program decisions such as hiring of staff and program expenses. Meet our current Policy Council by clicking here.
Families as Community Members
Bauer’s Health Advisory Committee (HAC) is made up of parents, community health care professionals, volunteers, and staff. The HAC is responsible for assisting, reviewing, and making recommendations for the program’s health, mental health, and nutrition services.
Families as Learners
Throughout the school year, the Bauer Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) hosts events that bring families together in a fun and relaxed learning environment. Parents attend trainings geared to their interests and at other times, participate side by side in learning activities with their children.
Families as Teachers
Every week, families receive a Home Link learning activity from their child’s teacher. The activities are selected specifically for the child and are based on their strengths, needs, interests, and goals the family has set.
What Does it Mean to be School Ready?
"Readiness" is a term used to describe preparation for what comes next! Since 1990, one of the top national educational goals has been that all children in America will start school "ready to learn." Bauer Head Start recognizes that the parents and families of children must also be “ready” for their child’s school experience and approaches their work so “Families are School Ready”.
With the children, teachers plan educational experiences (link to curriculum?) that promote each child’s ability “to be ready” for the next stage of their learning. All of these experiences are aligned with the kindergarten readiness expectations of our local school districts. (link to School Readiness Goals?)
Parents and families develop their school readiness when they participate in classroom activities, work on learning connections at home, attend parenting events and trainings, participate in the PTO and Policy Council, and establish goals for their child and family.
Bauer Head Start views school readiness and children’s readiness for a successful kindergarten transition as a community responsibility. Bauer staff, local elementary schools, community programs, parents and families work together to provide the optimal foundation needed for each child’s school success.
Why is School Readiness So Important?
The thought that school, learning, and education are important is not new to parents and teachers. In the past few decades, technology has advanced so dramatically that many of our “hunches” about learning in the early years have been confirmed. In fact, these advancements emphasize the direct influence of early learning (especially from birth to five) directly on a child's ability to learn and succeed in school. Research indicates that preschoolers who attend high quality programs:
- Enter kindergarten with skills necessary for school success
- Show greater understanding of verbal and numerical concepts
- Are more socially competent
- Show ability to stay with an activity longer
- Are more likely to make typical progress through the primary grades
- Are less often placed in special education classes
- Are less likely to be retained in kindergarten