School Notebook

New Head Start Preschool Opening

Action for Boston Community Development will celebrate the opening of its new Head Start center serving Malden, Medford and Everett on Monday, June 5, 2017 from 10:00 am to 11:30 a.m.

The state-of-the-art early learning center at 359 Commercial Street, Malden, will serve 139 low-income preschool children and their families through the proven and innovative Head Start program.

A host of national, state and city officials and special guests including Congresswoman Katherine Clark, State Senator Paul J. Donato, and Acting Director of the Office of Head Start Ann Linehan will speak to the importance of superior early education as embodied by Head Start.

Malden Mayor Gary Christenson, Medford Mayor Stephanie M. Burke, and Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria, Jr. will also address how ABCD’s new early learning center will serve children and families who are most in need. Head Start parent Adam Carranza will bring a personal perspective to the event.

Part of a highly successful federal program, ABCD Head Start & is unique. It places an emphasis on activities and experiences that develop children’s cognitive and emotional skills, nutrition that meets individual needs, and the overall well-being of children and their parents.

“ABCD is honored to welcome these outstanding allies and advocates as we unveil this state-of-the-art center serving low income children and families in Malden, Medford and Everett,” said ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew. “All too many families here are struggling to make ends meet while seeking the best education and opportunities possible for their children. We are happy to be a vital resource to them.”

“These children are America’s future,” said Drew. “They deserve the very best in early education and care. Head Start provides that for more than a million poor children and families nationwide.”

In May, ABCD Head Start opened a new center on Harrison Avenue in Boston, enhancing the life-changing benefits of the national early learning program for low-income residents within in the city’s South End and Chinatown neighborhoods, while providing expansion of the Early Head Start program and its critically needed services for infants, toddlers and pregnant mothers.

Early Head Start harnesses brain development research

ABCD Early Head Start is unique among early learning institutions, leading the way in applying cutting-edge research on brain development in infants and young children to the needs of low-income families. The Early Head Start approach to working with low-income pregnant mothers, infants and toddlers can provide children the start in life they need, well before they get to the 4-year-old pre-kindergarten age that many city and state early education programs focus upon.

Early Head Start was launched in 1994 when scientific advances drove a shift in understanding of how the earliest brain development impacts human health, achievement and well-being across the lifespan. Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy was at the forefront of the movement, stressing that creating the right conditions in early childhood is more effective and far less costly than addressing a multitude of problems later on.

A full-day, full-year program, ABCD Head Start currently serves 2,300 low-income children from birth to age 5 and their families in 24 ABCD centers plus several partner sites throughout Boston, Malden and Everett. Early Head Start, now at 12 sites, serves 282 infants, toddlers and pregnant mothers.

Over the past 52 years, the federal Head Start program has improved the lives of more than 33 million children from poor families across America, providing them with the skills and confidence to succeed in school and life. It has given Head Start parents educational opportunities to move up the economic ladder, empowered disadvantaged families and revitalized communities. Head Start is renowned for its comprehensive services – education, health, dental, nutrition, social services – and intensive parent engagement.

Currently the national Head Start program is funded to serve only 42 percent of eligible preschool children and Early Head Start funding provides for only 4 percent of eligible infants and toddlers. ABCD says both programs should be expanded.

Increased funding has proven payback. A 2016 study by Nobel Laureate economist James Heckman, The Lifestyle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program, found that for every $1 invested in Head Start there is a 13% return ($6.30) on investment to society

– Submitted by ABCD

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