What does Preschool look like in a Pandemic?

Do you wonder what school might look like when classes start back?

The teachers and staff at Family Services Head Start and Early Head Start are getting a glimpse of what the fall might look like, by finishing up our school year this summer.

The students and parents will notice that during the summer program, a lot of things look different — such as teachers wearing masks, frequent temperature checks, and parents being asked to remain outside while teachers escort children to class. But Head Start Center Director Shelby Moody said the most important things about the Head Start program will be the same — promoting school readiness by enhancing children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development while supporting and strengthening family relationships.

“We just want to make sure that when they transition to Kindergarten, that they’re ready,” Moody said.

Family Services Head Start has received grants totaling $543,982 through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support Head Start services this summer to low-income children under the age of 5 in Forsyth County and to fund one-time actions or activities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.

The local funds were part of $750 million designated for Head Start programs across the nation to support preventative, preparedness, and response activities related to the coronavirus through the CARES Act. To support low-income children who have experienced a disruption of services during this time, programs will provide supplemental summer Head Start programs as they are able.

Family Services Head Start summer programs will provide a full range of comprehensive services to the extent possible, with a focus on preparing children for the coming school year, according to Family Services Child Development Division Director Vivien Stearns.

“The Head Start summer program will provide a social and emotionally supportive learning environment and consistent daily routines to children who are entering kindergarten in the fall,” Stearns said. “It will also support children in getting up to date on the medical, dental, and other follow-up services they need to succeed in school.”

Family Services President and CEO Bob Feikema said the CARES Act funding helped provide critical support to enrolled children and families. “During this crisis, we have been able to provide crisis response to our Head Start families, including meals, mental wellness support, and connection to community resources,” Feikema said. “We have also trained all of our staff in infectious disease management as we prepare to reopen our classrooms in the fall. The health and safety of each child in our care is our highest priority.”


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