The Madera/Mariposa Regional Head Start preschool program is now accepting applications for the 2016-2017 school year. Children must turn three years-old by Sept. 1, to be eligible.
Head Start provides a comprehensive, high quality services designed to foster healthy development for income eligible children and families. The program focuses on increasing the social competence of young children three to four years of age in Madera and Mariposa counties.
Services include early childhood education, medical, and dental screening and follow ups, services to children with disabilities, social skills, nutrition and family services.
The following documents will be required at the time of registration: (1) your child’s birth certificate, (2) up to date immunization records, (3) proof of Medi-Cal or other insurance, and (4) family income verification for 12 months (tax return, W-2s, Passport to Services, Social Security, or TANF).
In mid-February there was talk of closing the Oakhurst program due to the small amount of children who were attending the program. However, the board of directors of the Community Action Partnership of Madera County, decided to take a wait-and-see approach, temporarily laying-to-rest parental concerns.
“It was decided to keep the Oakhurst site open for another year,” Maritza Gomez, Madera Head Start director said at the time.
What this means is that Head Start, which runs September through May, will open, as usual, in September for the coming school year. During those months, the board will be kept apprised of the enrollment. The Oakhurst program has an enrollment capacity of 15 children.
In a Sierra Star story in February, Amanda Woodworth spoke of the positive and lasting impact the program can have. Her boys, Christopher and Joshua, now 7 and 5, attended Head Start, and while both had similar experiences, for Christopher, it was life-altering.
“Chris has high-functioning Autism with Asperger’s, had a hard time in social situations and making friends,” Woodworth explained. “His going to Head Start not only jump-started his education, but gave him the social skills and confidence he needed to begin kindergarten. He wouldn’t have progressed as well as he has, if not for Head Start.”
“I know parents up there want to advocate to keep this program open, but we also need their help in spreading the word about the services we provide,” Gomez said. “They need to refer families to the center, so that we can keep our enrollment numbers up ... so that we don’t have to face this situation again.”
Madera/Mariposa Regional Head Start provides early education and other services to low-income children and families in Madera, Mariposa, Chowchilla, Fairmead, Oakhurst, and North Fork. Part-day and full-day services are provided to more than 350 children ages three to five at these sites.
For more information or to schedule an appointment to apply, call Oakhurst Head Start, (559) 658-8171, or Mountain Head Start in North Fork, (559) 877-2352.