To the Editor:
Your article “New Head Start Rules Aim to Set High Bar” (Nov. 16, 2011) effectively captures the importance of early-childhood-education programs adhering to the highest-quality standards for our youngest learners. However, it is important to note that the unique Head Start model, by its very design, is intended to extend beyond the classroom by partnering with parents and providing a comprehensive range of critical early-learning services that place poor children on a pathway to lifelong success.
Based on this national commitment, more than 27 million at-risk children over the past five decades have consistently emerged from Head Start centers engaged, energized, and fully prepared for kindergarten.
Head Start’s comprehensive approach is intended to maximize early learning during the critical window of opportunity when essential cognitive, social, and emotional development occurs. So, while the Head Start community remains committed to innovation and excellence in the pursuit of quality, Head Start’s comprehensive range of early-learning services cannot be measured by classroom-performance criteria alone.
National Head Start Association
A version of this article appeared in the December 07, 2011 edition of Education Week as Head Start Extends Beyond Classroom