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Capital Area Head Start
Who We Are
We provide a comprehensive child development program designed to give children a head start in life, so they can succeed at home, school and in the community.
Capital Area Head Start gives children a head start in life, empowers parents and strengthens families. CAHS began providing Head Start services to children and families in Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry Counties in 1988, when Keystone Human Services received a grant for the program. In 2001, we added Early Head Start services to serve pregnant women and children from birth to three.
Head Start is a comprehensive, federally-funded child development program and serves over 900 families in the tri-county area. Children may enter the Head Start program up to two years before entering public school. Through our Early Head Start program, we provide services for children ages birth to three and women who are pregnant.
We provide Head Start services based on three program models:
- Part-day school year
- Pre-K Counts
- Home-based programs
In our part-day school year program, children attend school for three and a half hours, four days a week. In Pre-K Counts, children attend classes for five hours, five days a week during the school year. For children and families in our home-based programs, home visitors visit families for one and a half hours three times per month. This model includes a part-day classroom experience each week. Early Head Start families receive weekly visits and two family days each month.
Children in all programs receive comprehensive services, including educational, medical, dental, nutritional and family social services. For specific age qualifications for each of our programs, please contact our main office at 717-541-1795.
In keeping with Keystone Human Services' tradition of involving parents in services provided for their children, CAHS emphasizes parent involvement and participation in all areas of their child's development. The Head Start Policy Council, a group of parents of children enrolled in Head Start services, is one of the principal governing bodies for CAHS.
Head Start Brings Technology into the Classroom
Technology and interactive media are one of the options Capital Area Head Start uses to support children’s learning. Each of our classrooms is equipped with two student iPads and an iPod containing music. Each home visitor also has an iPad, and each Center has an iPod that can be used during socialization classes.
We have developed our technology program using developmentally appropriate teaching practices to positively influence healthy growth and development for all children. Effective use of technology and media is active, hands-on, engaging, and empowering. It gives the child control and provides adaptive scaffolds to ease children’s accomplishment of tasks. Our teaching staff also receive technology training and hand-on guidance so they can effectively integrate technology into their teaching practices.
We work with parents to develop children’s goals, and we use those goals to determine which iPad app will most help the child obtain their goal. All iPad apps were chosen based on their ability to scaffold with children’s learning in math, literacy, and social-emotional needs. Many of our teachers have downloaded additional recommended apps that meet the diverse specific needs of their students.
A wide variety of translation apps are installed on each iPad and many of the iPods. These translation apps help facilitate communication and learning between home visitors and families and children who speak a language other than English. Not only do these tools support English language learning, but they also provide access to the family’s native language.
Within our classrooms, children are limited to using the iPads for 30 minutes per week. This is usually divided into two 15-minute sessions. Teachers interact and discuss children’s progress with them while playing with educational apps.
The children in our programs have greatly enjoyed playing and learning on the iPads, which have become a wonderful resource for our students and parents in our preschool classrooms and home visits.
If you are a parent interested in finding developmentally appropriate apps for your child, we recommend Common Sense Media. This site publishes independent ratings and reviews for nearly everything children may want to watch, read, play, and learn.