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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
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Head Start Celebrates Week of the Young Child

In between rain showers Monday, children and teachers at the Community Methodist Head Start Center on St. Croix kicked off activities for the Week of the Young Child with a mini-parade around the campus.

More than 90 children, 3 to 5 years old, marched in pairs and holding hands around the building and playground. Some classes carried balloons, others shook maracas and rattles, and they all happily chanted: “One, two, three, four, CMC is who we are. Five, six, seven, eight, we are here to educate.”

Other activities planned for Head Start children this week include storytelling and pajama day; an open house and breakfast with parents; a trip to the Florence Williams public library to apply for library cards; and a fun day with games and treats.

“It’s important to bring awareness about educating young children. We tell them, ‘As small as you are, you are fit to learn everything needed in a lifetime,’” said Head Start teacher Mary Polius.

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According to Polius, the activities this week also emphasize that Head Start is not a childcare facility. Teachers work to help children develop cognitive and gross motor skills, she said, and they also monitor how students interact with each other and adults.

The Knud Hansen Head Start Center on St. Thomas also held a parade Monday, and other activities at St. Thomas centers will include movie and pool days, crafts projects and open houses.

Almost 900 children in Head Start and subsidized childcare centers throughout the territory will participate in activities throughout the week.

The Virgin Islands Department of Human Services Office of Childcare Services, the Head Start program and the National Association for the Education of Young Children are sponsors of the activities.

Human Services Commissioner Christopher Finch said Week of the Young Child has been celebrated in the territory for more than 10 years.

“It places a special focus on early childhood and the importance of it – a special time to bring teachers, children and parents together. Policy makers, the community and parents all get together to celebrate the joys of early childhood education,” Finch said.

Human Services manages the federally and locally funded Head Start program. Last year the Virgin Islands government devoted $3.2 million to Head Start and the federal government’s funding was to be $9.6 million, but $600,000 was eliminated last year during federal sequester budget cuts.

The department is in the process of reapplying for next year’s federal funding and Finch believes the $600,000 will be restored.

According to Finch, the territory has “overmatched” federal funds lately because federal funding hasn’t increased as the local Head Start budget expanded.

The Week of the Young Child was established in1971 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children to focus on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize early childhood programs and services, according to the website. The NAEYC is the world’s largest early childhood education association with 300 local, state and regional affiliates and 80,000 members.

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In between rain showers Monday, children and teachers at the Community Methodist Head Start Center on St. Croix kicked off activities for the Week of the Young Child with a mini-parade around the campus.

More than 90 children, 3 to 5 years old, marched in pairs and holding hands around the building and playground. Some classes carried balloons, others shook maracas and rattles, and they all happily chanted: “One, two, three, four, CMC is who we are. Five, six, seven, eight, we are here to educate.”

Other activities planned for Head Start children this week include storytelling and pajama day; an open house and breakfast with parents; a trip to the Florence Williams public library to apply for library cards; and a fun day with games and treats.

“It’s important to bring awareness about educating young children. We tell them, ‘As small as you are, you are fit to learn everything needed in a lifetime,’” said Head Start teacher Mary Polius.

According to Polius, the activities this week also emphasize that Head Start is not a childcare facility. Teachers work to help children develop cognitive and gross motor skills, she said, and they also monitor how students interact with each other and adults.

The Knud Hansen Head Start Center on St. Thomas also held a parade Monday, and other activities at St. Thomas centers will include movie and pool days, crafts projects and open houses.

Almost 900 children in Head Start and subsidized childcare centers throughout the territory will participate in activities throughout the week.

The Virgin Islands Department of Human Services Office of Childcare Services, the Head Start program and the National Association for the Education of Young Children are sponsors of the activities.

Human Services Commissioner Christopher Finch said Week of the Young Child has been celebrated in the territory for more than 10 years.

“It places a special focus on early childhood and the importance of it – a special time to bring teachers, children and parents together. Policy makers, the community and parents all get together to celebrate the joys of early childhood education,” Finch said.

Human Services manages the federally and locally funded Head Start program. Last year the Virgin Islands government devoted $3.2 million to Head Start and the federal government’s funding was to be $9.6 million, but $600,000 was eliminated last year during federal sequester budget cuts.

The department is in the process of reapplying for next year’s federal funding and Finch believes the $600,000 will be restored.

According to Finch, the territory has “overmatched” federal funds lately because federal funding hasn’t increased as the local Head Start budget expanded.

The Week of the Young Child was established in1971 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children to focus on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize early childhood programs and services, according to the website. The NAEYC is the world’s largest early childhood education association with 300 local, state and regional affiliates and 80,000 members.