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Mathis: Getting a 'Head Start' with Metropolitan Family Services

Community voice

Published: Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013 2:00 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Sept. 9, 2013 10:04 a.m. CDT

Jayden, Mason, Maritza and Jacob lived in different quadrants of DuPage County, but they all had something in common.

They were full of anticipation, waiting for Tuesday, Sept. 3 to get here so they could begin pre-school. On that special day, more than 600 children experienced what is sure to be one of life’s most memorable moments – the first day of not just any pre-school, but Head Start.

Head Start is a comprehensive program that promotes the school readiness of children from low-income families from birth to age 5 by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development. In addition to educational services, Head Start provides health, nutrition and social services.

Family involvement is at the core of Head Start. The role of parents as their child’s first and most important teacher is emphasized. Relationships are built with families that support their well-being and positive parent-child relationships. The program connects families to peers and community resources.

Metropolitan Family Services DuPage administers the 13-site Head Start Program for DuPage County.

“Head Start fits so perfectly with the mission of Metropolitan Family Services to provide and mobilize services needed to strengthen families and communities,” said Theresa Nihill, executive director of Metropolitan Family Services DuPage. “The majority of our programs are conducted in community schools in the neighborhoods where the children live. Families can more easily access the services offered through Head Start and at the same time begin forging bonds with school personnel before their child starts kindergarten.”

To learn more about Metropolitan Family Services DuPage or the Head Start program, call Metropolitan Family Services DuPage at 630-784-4801.

Patricia Mathis is the director of development for Metropolitan Family Service DuPage

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