OKEECHOBEE — Northside Head Start and Seminole Head Start in Okeechobee are now accepting applications for the 2021-2022 school year. Don’t miss this opportunity to register your child/children (ages three and four). Head Start is a free full-day, school-year early childhood education program for eligible children and families. Head Start invests over $8,700 in the education of each child each year. To be eligible, your child must be three or four years old on or before Sept. 1. Services will be provided to families with a household income at or below 130% of the Federal poverty guidelines, to those who are receiving certain forms of public assistance such as TANF or SSI, to foster children, and to those who are currently homeless.
Why choose Head Start? The Head Start Program in Okeechobee County is operated by Economic Opportunities Council of Indian River County (EOC). EOC has a 55-year successful track record of helping children become kindergarten ready. Head Start is NAEYC accredited and uses evidence-based curriculum. Teachers have degrees. Head Start engages the family in the child’s learning and provides the family with training opportunities and resources. Children receive daily breakfast and lunch. They also receive health and dental screenings. EOC has two Head Start Centers in Okeechobee County and 6 in Indian River County.
Head Start is a VPK (voluntary prekindergarten) provider. Parents of 4-year-old children must obtain a valid VPK certificate. Certificates and additional information are available from the Early Learning Coalition of Indian River, Martin and Okeechobee Counties at 877-220-1223.
Although the EOC receives federal funding for the Head Start Program, a 20% local match is required. Donations from caring community members are needed. For every dollar invested today, savings range from $2.50 to as much as $17 in the years ahead (per the U.S. Chamber of Commerce).
EOC is a Community Action Agency working to transition at-risk individuals and families from poverty to self-sufficiency. EOC has a successful track record of providing high-quality programs and services (including Head Start) to economically disadvantaged children and families. For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit www.eocofirc.net, or call 772-562-4177.