Information About Our Services – Harford County Head Start
Early Head Start in Harford County, Maryland is a child and family development program that enables children from low-income families to be better prepared when entering kindergarten, thereby improving the likelihood of their success in school and in life.
Learning is Alive & Growing
Our Early Head Start and Family Center serves pregnant women, parents, and children under three from low-income families. Our teachers provide loving care and guidance through a planned curriculum that incorporates hands-on experiences for parents to nurture their children. We offer parents GED, parenting, and computer literacy classes, peer support groups, and employment training.
Stephanie Shifflet, a Head Start parent says, “I never expected to learn so much. I have not only graduated, I have learned to be a better mother and friend. I’ve learned that I can do anything with my life that I want. This program has made me a better person.”
Services Available in Harford County
Breakfast with Mom!
Services are provided in the home for parents, infants and toddlers. Emphasis is placed on helping parents develop parenting skills that promote the cognitive, physical, social and emotional growth of infants and toddlers, as well as build a foundation of security and self-confidence. A home-based services worker facilitates families identifying other strengths and needs which could support the overall health of the family. Also, through the home-based option, pregnant women receive support and services.
Children ages six weeks to three years are enrolled in a comprehensive child development program that is committed to providing quality services through Early Head Start. The program uses the state-mandated Creative Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers that focuses on creating an environment that promotes children’s social, emotional, relational, cognitive, language, and physical growth. Special attention is given to individualizing the schedule and plans for each child. When appropriate, referrals for children are made to Harford County Infant and Toddler Program to address developmental delays such as speech and language.
Adult Basic Education (ABE) and / General Educational Development (GED) Classes: Classroom instruction for ABE/GED is provided Monday through Friday at the Aberdeen Center. Upon enrollment participants will receive a placement test using the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS). Individual instruction is designed for parents to progress at their own pace.
This program option consists of individual and group activities to develop tangible job readiness skills for sustainable employment and to assist with further career development. This program option also supports parents in their current employment to prevent unwanted or unnecessary termination.
Both formal and informal opportunities for parent education are provided throughout the year. These services enhance parents’ knowledge of the developmental phases and expectations for child growth, increase parents’ understanding of their role as the child’s primary teacher and empower parents so they may provide for their children’s needs.
A weekly peer support group is offered through the mental health services provided by Villa Maria Continuum. The group offers discussion and education on topics such as building healthy friendships and other relationships, celebrations of special occasions, decision making and problem-solving strategies, self-esteem issues, etc. The group also participates in recreational activities.
Career development focuses on identifying goals, completing job applications, interview skills, and job search strategies. Speakers from local businesses and community agencies serve as guest presenters.
Informal and formal health care education opportunities are offered to parents and children, with activities and consultation supported by a nutrition consultant. Services include primary and prenatal health services and education; substance abuse prevention and intervention; health and dental screenings for children; and facilitating up to date immunizations for children. During the intake process and throughout participation in the program, efforts are made to ensure that parents and children have a healthcare provider and maintain regular visits.
Mental health services are provided in partnership with the Villa Maria Continuum. Services include referrals for individual counseling, parent education, and classroom observation and planning for child development needs.