Head Start brushes up on dental hygiene
Program accepting applications for 2013-14
The youngsters who attend Walsh County Head Start are brushing up on dental hygiene during the month of February which is National Dental Health Month.
Their very special adventure has taken the preschoolers to Kern Family Dentistry in Grafton where certified dental assistant (CDA) Terri Christinson demonstrated the proper way to brush and floss, as well as explained to them what to expect when they visit the dentist and the instruments used during a dental examination.
Back at their classroom, the young students practice good dental hygiene every day, brushing after they eat breakfast for the morning group and lunch for the afternoon class. Head Start nurse, Kristi Seim teaches them the proper way to brush as they take their turn brushing the very large teeth of hand puppet Donny the Donkey.
The children are not the only ones getting an education on dental hygiene this month. Janice Kern from Kern Family Dentistry dropped in at Head Start to visit with parents. Her presentation was on the importance of early dental care and regular dental checkups for children. She also discussed getting kids to drink water instead of soda and fruit juice. She distributed bottles of water for the children that she labeled “melted snowmen” as to encourage children to make it their drink of choice.
Supporting Head Start
The Walsh County Head Start parent committee has been established to get the parents involved in their child’s education. They meet regularly and also conduct a fundraiser every year to help raise money to cover the cost of the special programs made available to the children to enhance their learning experience.
The parents are in the midst of their annual fundraiser that will continue through Wednesday, Feb 20. They are selling Pastry Puffins, Butter Braids and Country Smokehouse pizzas. Anyone who would like to place an order can contact the Walsh County Head Start office at 352-0450. The products are expected to be delivered March 19.
About Head Start
Focus on dental hygiene is just one of the many educational programs Head Start children participate in every school year. The preschool curriculum is designed to prepare the children for kindergarten, not only socially, but academically. According to Susan Suda, Head Start family service specialist, studies continue to show how important pre-K is to students when they enter school, because of how kindergarten programs have evolved over the years. Kindergarten students now learn number recognition and full letter recognition. By the end of the year, many children are reading.
“When students arrive at kindergarten, if they do not have the foundation from preschool classes, they are going to be behind,” Suda commented. “We hear people comment ‘They are only three and four, what are they learning?’ They really are learning a lot, it is the basis for their ongoing education.”
Head Start offers children individualized teaching, well-equipped classes, health and dental screenings, speech and hearing checks, healthy meals and snacks, services to meet special needs, parent involvement and family support. The program is free and open to children who are three and four years old. Any child who is kindergarten-eligible is too old for Head Start. The child cannot turn five years old prior to Aug. 1, 2013 to qualify for the program.
Walsh County Head Start is currently accepting applications for the 2013-14 school year. Although a family is required to fall within income guidelines for a child to qualify for Head Start, there are exceptions including if a child has special needs. Anyone who would like to register their child for the upcoming school year is invited to stop by the Walsh County Head Start office located on the second floor of the Prairieview building on the Developmental Center campus, to pick up an application or call the office at 701-352-0450.