"We truly serve the neediest in our community," Edwards said. "Our goal in Head Start is to ensure that every child is ready for kindergarten."
By focusing on such areas as health, nutrition, education, disability and family services, the staff at Head Start makes sure the children they serve are ready for school. In addition, each family has a family service worker who helps them develop goals.
The program serves 260 children in Anderson, 34 in Elwood and 295 in Delaware County, Edwards said.
Ericka Hernandez, whose son, Uriel, attends, also serves as a parent volunteer at least two days a week and is a member of the local policy council.
"I feel like it's very important for all the families," she said of the Head Start program. When parents go to work, she added, they know their children "are in a safe place where they can learn."
"I like coming to this school and helping as much as I can," said Hernandez, who moved to Indiana 14 years ago from Mexico, where she was a social worker. "What else can I say? Head Start is very important. It's a good program."
Rachel Brooks-Steele has been a Head Start teacher for 13 years in Anderson and loves her work.
Her students have been studying buildings that are part of their world, such as churches, hotels, homes, clubs and roads. They decided to call it "Newspaper City" because many of the buildings are wrapped in newsprint.
In addition to depicting local buildings, her students have been learning about skyscrapers and other types of structures on the Internet. Students in another class have undertaken a similar project.
"They've been working on it for two weeks, and we'll keep doing it as long as they're interested," Brooks-Steele said.
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