What licensing guidelines does Head Start follow?
All Head Start centers are licensed by the State of Minnesota and must meet Federal Head Start Performance Standards.
What about children who are allergic to certain foods or need to follow special diets?
Parents complete a Special Diet Statement to alert staff to their child’s condition. Special diet needs are closely monitored by nutrition staff to make sure appropriate foods are substituted, as needed.
Are meals served at Head Start?
Yes, staff and children share ‘family style’ meals together. Head Start guidelines require all foods must be low-fat, low-salt, low-sugar, and high in nutrients. Pork or pork products are not served.
How is information shared with parents?
Daily classroom schedules and lesson plans are posted in the centers. Letters, event notices, training flyers, permission slips, children’s artwork, and other materials are sent home regularly in each child’s backpack.
What type of discipline does the program use?
Teachers attend continuous trainings in behavior guidance. The Head Start Program follows Minnesota state licensing guidelines and does not allow hitting, spanking, shaming, or any other forms of punishment.
How many children are in each classroom?
A maximum of 20 children per session.
What is meant by “parents as partners?”
Parents are a child’s first and most important teachers. Head Start’s goal is to work together with parents to strengthen each child’s skills and self-confidence and prepare the child to succeed in school.
How does Head Start help parents to transition their child into kindergarten?
Parents receive information about school choices and the registration process. With your permission, we will also send your child’s education and screening records to your child’s next school. Staff members from St. Paul Public Schools attend special meetings and family fun events to help parents understand the school choices that are available and help parents fill out applications.
Are support groups available for parents of special needs children?
The program offers a number of support groups for parents of children with disabilities. It also offers various mental health services for children, including therapeutic classrooms, social support groups, individual skill building, and other support for families.
Does the program accept children with disabilities?
Yes! Children with disabilities make up at least 10% of the entire program’s enrollment. All Head Start children receive a developmental screening. The program has child development, family, and mental health specialists who work with parents, staff, and children with suspected or identified special needs.
What are the staff qualifications?
Classrooms have either two teacher-qualified staff persons (as defined by Minnesota licensing guidelines) or a teacher-qualified staff person and an assistant or aide.
Do children go on field trips?
Yes, field trips are part of each child’s Head Start experience. Parents must give written permission for each field trip, and parents are welcome to participate in the field trip as volunteers.
What are the classroom hours?
Half-day sessions are Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (morning) and 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (afternoon). Full-day program hours vary according to the program and/or location.