Where can I get more information about Geminus Head Start?
Call us at 1-888-893-6891 or email email@example.com. You can also call Geminus at 219-757-1800 and ask to speak with Head Start.
How was my child selected for the program?
When you applied for the program, you gave staff information about your family size, your income, your child’s age and other things. Staff then listed each piece of information on a selection sheet. The selection sheet gives each piece of information a number value. Those numbers are the points that make up the enrollment selection criteria point system. Individual points were assigned to each source of information provided by the family and then calculated for a grand total. The enrollment application with the highest number of calculated points are then selected for enrollment in the program. Once the classrooms are filled, the remaining children are then placed on a waiting list. When an opening for a new child occurs in the classroom, staff refers to the waiting list and the child with the highest points on the waiting list is enrolled in the classroom.
How often will my child play outdoors?
Expect that your child will play outdoors regularly unless the National Weather Service indicates a potential safety or health hazard i.e., a wind advisory, heat advisory. If your child’s classroom is in a public school building, the Head Start classroom will follow the school’s outdoor policy. The following guidelines will be followed regarding outdoor play:
Staff will monitor appropriate dress for outdoor weather activities. Programs make effort to have a supply of weather-related clothing available to children who may not have appropriate clothes for the weather. In cases of extreme winter weather, children will be allowed outdoors for brief intervals.
In cases of heat and high humidity, children will be allowed outdoors for intervals of no longer than 15 minutes. Drinking water should be readily available to children.
Supervisory staff reserves the right to stop children from participating in outdoor activities based on individual circumstances for the purpose of providing a safe environment for all children.
Children with special needs will be included in outdoor activities based on information obtained in the child’s health records and their individualized education plan.
Will my child be going on field trips?
Yes, field trips are an important part of the Head Start program. Field trips are tied to the classroom curriculum. For example, if the topic of study is community specialist, a trip to the fire station to learn about firefighters may be suggested. Parents will work with teaching staff to provide suggestions for classroom field trips keeping in mind Head Start guidelines regarding the cost of the field trip, the distance of the field trip location from the Head Start classroom and the time the children will spend at the location. Parents will provide approval for field trips. A permission slip signed by the child’s parent(s) is required for a child to go on a field trip. Additionally, unless an emergency situation exists, such as the need for medical treatment or the inability of a designated adult to receive the child at the end of the day, children will return to their Head Start site after a field trip. From the site, they will return home.
How will the program help my child and I manage being apart from one another?
The following are additional suggestions to help you and your child with the transition into the program:
Plan to attend orientation and phase-in to help both you and your child feel more comfortable with the classroom and staff.
Make sure your child knows who will pick him/her up (at school or off of the bus).
Tape-record yourself reading one of your child’s favorite stories and give the tape to your child’s teacher. Your child can then listen to your voice reading a familiar story, which can help your child feel more comfortable.
Talk about some of the things your child will be doing at school.
It is normal for parents to have a tough time separating, too. Teaching and family support staff will are available to help parents feel safe and comfortable as their children enter Head Start.
How should my child dress for the classroom?
Children should be dressed comfortably to play both inside and outside. Clothing should be washable and easy for your child to put on and take off. Shoes should be comfortable for running, climbing and jumping. Shoes should also be safe, so we suggest that children not wear flip flop type sandals as children can trip and fall more easily in this type of footwear. The children will play outdoors throughout the year, so dress your child in keeping with the weather. Outdoor clothing (boots, jackets with zippers, hats and mittens) should be easy to put on and take off. All clothing that is left at school and all outdoor clothing should be marked with your child’s name. A lost and found box is located at your child’s classroom site for unmarked items found.
Can my child bring things from home?
Unless there is a show and tell project approved by the teacher, children are discouraged from bringing toys and other items from home. Head Start classrooms are rich in materials appropriate for children’s development, and sites cannot assume responsibility for lost or damaged items. The only items needed are a pillow and blanket for sessions that have rest periods (typically those that run 5 days per week) and extra clothing in case of accidents.
What is the purpose of the home visit?
To work in collaboration with a home visitor to establish goals for you and your child, and to reach the goals you have established as your child’s first and primary teacher. The main focus of your home visit is your child’s development. During each visit, an activity or experience will be presented for you and your child to enjoy together.
What components are addressed during the home visit?
You and your home visitor will address the following components on each visit:
Child development in terms of milestones
Health and Nutrition
How often do home visits occur for the Home Based programs?
Home visits occur on a weekly basis for 90 minutes.
How does the home visitor prepare for transitions from home visiting to a center-based setting?
At 18 months of age, if the parent is interested in center-based programming, the Program Assistant/Home Visitor and parent will begin the transition process. This will include trips to the center, transition activities for all parties, meetings, etc. to ensure the child/family are transitioned successfully out of home-based services.
What is the purpose of the socializations?
Build on the experiences and goals that are addressed during home visits and attend to the needs of both children and families. Socializations give you a chance to:
Be out of the house and meet other parents
Assist in organizing activities, gathering materials, and preparing snacks
Share what you know and learn with other parent and EHS or HS staff members
Attend presentations about safety, nutrition, discipline, or other topics of interest
Share activity ideas and things you learn with family members; and the most important of all
Strengthen your relationship with your child.
Is attendance to the socialization mandatory?
Yes, it is mandatory. This is a time for you, your child, and other parents and their children to come together. These are opportunities to build on the goals you set during your home visits.
How often do socializations occur? How long do they last?
Socializations occur daily, however, parents are required to attend two session per month, for a total of 24 socializations per year for Early Head Start families and 16 sessions total for Head Start families. Socializations will last anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours depending on the families attending the group
Will there be food served during socializations?
Yes, food will be provided during socializations. The United Starts Department of Agriculture sets forth requirements based upon the average daily allowance of nutritious foods. All snacks served at socializations will be approved by the USDA.
When programs/locations for socializations are closed, how will I find out?
Home visitors or your program assistant will contact you directly if socializations are going to be canceled. If your socialization is to occur in a Head Start site location, the Head Start management staff determines weather conditions to be unsafe.
The radio stations listed below may carry information about school closings in your area. Announcements will be on the area radio stations before 6:00 am.
WJOB 1230 AM
WZVN 107.1 FM
WGN 720 AM
Indiana 105.5 FM
For information on how we determine school closures due to COVID-19 spread, click here.
Geminus supports early childhood education, family services, and prevention programs in Northwest and Northern Indiana. Our network of partners includes community-based health care and social services, welcoming Indiana residents of all ages and income levels with fully integrated, streamlined services.