Ozark Action Inc. Head Start began in 1964. The purpose of Head Start was to meet the needs of local community children and help prepare them to further their education. Head Start provides preschool for children ages three and four, specifically reaching out to low income families, children with special needs and disabilities.
In the beginning of the 2019 fall school year, Ozark Action had 14 Head Start centers helping serve sxi counties, and a total of 400 children.
These centers are in Alton, Ava, Bakersfield, Cabool, Gainesville, Grovespring, Houston, Licking, Mansfield, Mountain Grove, Mountain View, Thayer, West Plains, and Willow Springs.
Ozark Action Inc. Head Start’s corporate office is in West Plains, housing members of management staff who are available to support all staff members, children and their families.
Head Start provides a hands-on learning experience that helps children learn and grow, preparing them for transition to kindergarten. Head Start is also unique in that it focuses on families too. Helping families reach personal goals such as going back to school, budgeting, finding dental care and more, is a part of the Head Start experience.
Head Start knows that parents and guardians are a child’s most important teacher. So Head Start encourages families to participate in a variety of events and encourages their input through Policy Council.
Family members attending the Policy Council meetings help to set rules and policies for OAI Head Start. They also vote on hiring of new employees, and report information back to their home centers.
Most Head Start organizations have removed transportation completely, but not here at Ozark Action Inc. This group is continuing to improve bus fleets with the hope more children can benefit from safe transportation to and from the centers in these rural areas. This year they added four new buses to the fleet.
Another key component is that Head Start is a part of the Trauma Smart Initiative. This format encourages staff to meet the social and emotional needs along with educational needs of children and families who have a traumatic experience in their background.
For children to be successful learners, Head Start knows the value of increasing positive social emotional skills first. This allows them to increase their self-regulation for future learning. This concept is especially important for children and families with trauma.
Ozark Action Inc. Head Start also wants to acknowledge that their success has been in large part due to community support. Several local businesses and organizations have taken time to assist with donations, services, and more for the children in the program.
For more information about how to support your local Head Start center and prepare children for kindergarten, please reach out to the local center manager.
Are you looking for a safe, licensed, quality place of education for your three- or four-year-old child? If so, Head Start Director, Reta House, invites you to visit your local center. The qualified staff will be happy to share success stories, and help you fill out an application for your child.