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Working with families to provide a healthy, safe, and nurturing environment so that Early Head Start and Head Start children will grow and learn.
The Clarke County School District, Office of Early Learning (OEL) administers the Pre-K, Right Start, Early Head Start, Head Start, and Early Reading First programs.
The quality of these programs was recognized in 2003, when the Office of Early Learning received the distinguished honor of being named "Program of the Year" by the Georgia Association on Young Children.
In addition, the Foundation for Excellence in Public Education selected Jan Stephens, the Office of Early Learning Director, for the Katherine H. Hug Instructional Leadership Award.
Since 1992, the Office of Early Learning has grown to a $6.5 million dollar per year operation.
The Office of Early Learning programs function under the four components of a Comprehensive Family Literacy model :
· Adult Education (Adult Basic Literacy, GED, ESOL, Workplace literacy, Life Skills)
· Individualized Parenting Education
· Inclusive Early Childhood Education
· Interactive Parent and Child Together (PACT) activities
EARLY HEAD START and HEAD START provide early individualized intervention services in the area of child development, physical, nutritional, mental, and oral health and family services to 164 expectant women and children through age four.
Children can be enrolled in classrooms located at Little Ones Academy and the HT Edwards Building.
Families can also be enrolled in a home based option where expectant women and children receive weekly 90 minute home visits from a Child Development-Family Engagement Specialist.
In all of the programs located in the Office of Early Learning, children and families educational progress are routinely assessed.In addition, Dr. Stacey Neuharth-Pritchett and Dr. Thomas Coleman at the local university conduct longitudinal research evaluations.
Despite the fact that children in Early Head Start were born with substantial risk factors (e.g., born to mothers who used drugs and alcohol, born to teen parents, born premature and underweight) on average, after involvement in the Early Head Start program these children have made significant gains and now are performing within the normal ranges of cognitive development: 92.60, SD=10.67, Bayley Scales (Pritchett, 2005).
In June 2006 and July 2006 the Early Head Start program became 1 in 22 out of 700 programs in the nation to be found in compliance with over 1,800 performance standards as well as other federal, state and local laws, policies and procedures.
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