Often, it isn’t until our high school years that people begin to consider their career or what their future will hold in terms of higher education. However, enough can’t be said about the benefits of an early start when it comes to education.
The attributes, healthy habits, and skills that are developed in an individual’s formative years will last a lifetime and ensure that one is always one step ahead in their education. This is a far more pro-active approach to education than attending school later in life and hiring a tutor, taking extra classes or spending extra hours studying to keep up or even correct deficiency in one’s progress.
This is the exact purpose of Head Start programs – to give pre-schoolers aged 3-5 years old, a “leg up” in their education as well as their social development. In the SouthCoast the premier Head Start program is administered by the “private, non-profit, community-based, anti-poverty agency,” P.A.C.E. (People Acting in Community Endeavors). P.A.C.E. is known for their wide variety of services such as housing and fuel assistance, child care information and referrals, and their early education program that builds upon a child’s unique strengths and abilities and prepares them for school readiness.
Funded by the Administration for Children and Families and operating in accordance with Head Start Performance Standards, the program provides services for over 290 children at two Head Start sites – Madison Street and Smith Street – both which are licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Early Childhood Education and Care.
P.A.C.E. Head Start promotes an early education experience which builds upon a child’s strengths and engages parents as partners creating an atmosphere which supports learning, nurturing, inclusion, collaboration and diversity.
With a minimum of one teacher to every 10 children the teacher/child ratio actually exceeds that by the Department of Early Childhood Education and Care, the National Head Start Program Performance Standards and the National Association for the Education of Young Children. With each classroom has approximately 18 children of mixed ages and is headed by a Lead Teacher that has an Associates or Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education or related field.
In addition, a Floater Teacher Assistant is always available throughout the day to improve the teacher/child ratio, as are foster grandparents, parent volunteers, and student interns. In fact, not only is parental and family input encouraged, but meaningful parent involvement opportunities are considered integral to the child’s development.
Children Services Manager, Jennifer Maxwell, emphasized this commitment to teaching and supporting the whole family and child while fostering independence and self-advocacy. Having long worked in the field of early childhood education she enjoys the unique opportunities and challenges that working with young children provide. “It is definitely the children that inspire me every day in my job. Their enthusiasm, curiosity, and perseverance is contagious. That being said, the staff at P.A.C.E Head Start is equally as inspiring. Their dedication to the children and families in this program is beyond compare. They work tirelessly to ensure that children and families’ individual needs are being addressed and that they are set up with the opportunity to succeed.”
This high standard is the baseline for the entire organization, their policies and curriculum – Jennifer has a Master’s Degree and MA teaching license in Early Childhood Education and all of the staff credentials range from CDAs and Associates Degrees to Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees. They treat the children and parents as well as each other nothing is less than gold standard. Head Start is NAEYC accredited, which ensures that they provide the most relevant, research based curriculum, activities and education framework to the children ensuring that they have the tools they need to be successful in Kindergarten.
The proof, as they say, is in the proverbial pudding: it is commonplace to have 2nd and even 3rd generation students. With the success that the kids have throughout their school years it is evident that there are clear advantages provided by the P.A.C.E. Head Start program. This is best seen by children that become parents and enroll their kids into the program so they can enjoy the same benefits.
Substitute and Policy Council Member, Sue Ghonim, who also has a child enrolled said, “P.A.C.E. Head Start is one of the most important ever in New Bedford. It isn’t only all about teaching our children the basics that they may need to start their lives, but I can see further that they are holding the future of America in their hands. I believe that the managers, the teachers & all the staff are the best team possible to manage and handle our young children the way they do. Good job, please keep it up.”
Interested in having your child enjoy these advantages and want like to find out more about the P.A.C.E. Head Start program? Below you will find everything you need to know from their address, email, phone number, and social media accounts. Applications are accepted year round and you can visit either location to register. Children are prioritized for enrollment based on individual and family needs. P.A.C.E. Head Start is committed to serving children with special needs and ten percent of enrollment opportunities are reserved for them. Parents of children with special needs are encouraged to apply.
32 Madison Street
New Bedford, Massachusetts
247 Smith Street
New Bedford, Massachusetts