Oco News

OCO Head Start Pre-K Program Accepting Applications Now

Children classroom

OCO’s Head Start Pre-K Program is getting ready to go with fully in-person classes this fall. Families are invited to enroll their children now for the 2021-22 school year.

According to OCO Head Start Health and Family Coordinator Toni Ross, “While we will have in-person classes I can assure parents and guardians that for the safety of their children we will be adhering to all COVID-19 guidelines. We will also be limiting visitors and encouraging children to wear masks based on the current CDC and Health Department guidance.” 

A program of Oswego County Opportunities (OCO), the Head Start Pre-K Program runs throughout the school year and serves children from each of Oswego County’s nine school districts at seven centers. Head Start provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to children and their families.  In the accompanying photo taken in early 2020, Oswego Head Start Pre-K Program students enjoy some play time.

In the accompanying photo taken in early 2020, Oswego Head Start Pre-K Program students enjoy some play time.

“The Head Start Pre-K program is focused on school readiness,” said Ross. “Using a research based curriculum that follows NYS Pre-K learning standards, our early education teachers use a variety of hands-on learning experiences that include the concepts of math, science, and literacy, combined with active play and nutritious meals that assist children in developing academically, socially, and emotionally.”

Each Head Start Pre-K classroom has a teacher with either a master’s degree or bachelor’s degree in education, a teaching assistant, and a classroom aide to provide a small teacher-child ratio. Family specialists and a nurse are also on staff to work closely with parents and caregivers to provide them with information, support, and other services.

“Head Start teaches children how much fun learning can be, how to work together as a team, and the importance of responsibility,” added Ross. “Reliable studies have found positive long-term effects with lower rates of grade repetition and special education placement, as well as increased high school graduation rates for those who attended Head Start.” Ross also noted that Head Start children are “significantly more likely to attend college than their siblings who did not attend Head Start.”

Families experiencing low incomes are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as class size is limited. Children must be three years old on or before December 1, 2021 and families must meet income guidelines. Apply online at www.oco.org/education-services/head-start-upk; message the head Start Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/headstartupk  or via phone by calling 315-598-4711.  “An OCO Family Specialist will contact you to complete the application,” Ross stated. “I encourage parents seeking a quality pre-kindergarten program for their three or four year old children to discover the benefits of the Head Start Pre-K program.”

OCO’s Head Start Program is currently accepting applications for the 2021 – 2022 school year for all of its classrooms including ; Oswego, Fulton (multiple locations), Phoenix (Discovery Learning Center), Williamstown and West Monroe. “This fall we are excited to open a classroom in the Catholic Charities in Fulton,” Ross said.

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