As a society, we all should pledge to continue our national commitment to do as much as we can to help our youngest and poorest children thrive. It was during the Spring of 1965, fifty years ago, that the formation of Head Start made early education a front burner issue for public policy and discussion. And, today, as we celebrate Head Start’s 50th year anniversary, the debate about the benefits for early education and schooling still engenders much discussion.
For many children, their educational journey begins with Head Start as the place to start developing “the fullest power of each child, creating a path to opportunities, stability and economic success in life. It is at Head Start that teachers, parents and other volunteers have the first opportunity at “lifting the world” by creating a future of hope in our children.
The Head Start preschool educational programs are all about positive learning experiences, both in the home and at the centers. It is during these early formative years that teachers and especially parents should instill in their children a desire to learn and help each child internalize the value of education. These are essential roles that parents must accept from the very first day of their Head Start experience, making sure their active involvement continues throughout their children educational journey, from Head Start and beyond.
Parents, once your children realize you have taken a genuine interest in their learning and school activities, show a deeper appreciation for learning and embrace a habit of hard work, you are well on your way to developing the habits that will allow your children “to run a good race,” while acquiring personal ambition.
More importantly, you have now discovered the secret behind your children’s success in school—the active involvement of the parents. Now, at this point, you can demand more from yourself and even more from your children. We all benefit as we create and sustain these active partnerships among parents, teachers and students. And, by the way, the racial achievement gap should begin to disappear.
So as Head Start continues to introduce children to the exciting world of learning, let’s recognize our local Head Start teachers, parents and volunteers for the amazing work they do in providing early childhood education for the children in Sampson County.
As a retired high school teacher, I have no doubt that Head Start had a very positive impact on many of the students that came through my social studies classroom during my 34-year tenure of teaching the youth of Clinton. It was Head Start that helped lift many of these same students out of poverty. And many of these same students have and still are making a positive difference, lifting the world even higher.
Let’s continue moving forward on our pledge to make early learning opportunities available for all children. That way, we will always have Head Start as “a gift to the next generation.”