By Dr. Blanca Enriquez, Director, Office of Head Start
Today, I am pleased to announce new funding that will allow all Head Start communities to have access to full school year and full school day programming, and all Early Head Start families to receive continuous services. Congress has appropriated $294 million in supplemental funding for existing Head Start and Early Head Start programs to increase the number of hours and days of high-quality services offered each year to children enrolled in Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
Strong and mounting evidence from research tells us that when children attend programs for more days and longer hours, they are better prepared for school and have improved outcomes. Receiving enough high-quality early learning experiences is particularly important to the success of the young children Head Start serves.1 Programs that run for fewer hours and fewer days may not have enough time to provide frequent intentional teaching in small groups and individualized instruction, or to provide necessary comprehensive services. Long summer breaks may also undermine the gains that children make during the program year.2
About a third of Head Start programs already serve children in full school day and full school year programs. However, children in programs operating under Head Start's current minimums spend less than half of the time in the classroom than children in full school day, full school year programs. That’s why I am excited that Congress has invested in our most vulnerable children by providing this funding. This will allow for all Head Start communities to offer full school day, full school year opportunities to at least some of their preschoolers. Furthermore, this funding will allow for all infants and toddlers in Early Head Start to receive continuous services.
Though the research is clear that the children we serve need more time in our programs, we recognize that it does not point to an exact threshold or combination of hours and days to achieve success. The supplemental funding announced today gives programs the flexibility to increase the total number of hours children spend in high-quality early learning experiences annually in a way that works best for their community.
Subject to appropriations, the funds awarded will become part of the grantee’s base funding. To learn how to apply and to find out if you are eligible, please refer to ACF-PI-HS-16-02 Supplemental Funds Available to Extend Duration of Services in Head Start and Early Head Start. Explore more information in the Program Duration portal on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) website. This is a smart investment that will produce great dividends, not just for the children and families we serve, but for the nation as a whole.
1 Reynolds, A. J., Richardson, B. A., Hayakawa, M., Lease, E. M., Warner-Richter, M., Englund, M. M., ... & Sullivan, M. (2014). Association of a full-day vs part-day preschool intervention with school readiness, attendance, and parent involvement. JAMA, 312(20), 2126-2134.
Robin, K.B., Frede, E.C., Barnett, W.S. (2006). Is More Better? The Effects of Full-Day vs. Half-Day Preschool on Early School Achievement. NIEER Working Paper.
DeCicca, P. (2007). Does full-day kindergarten matter? Evidence from the first two years of schooling. Economics of Education Review, 26(1), 67-82.
Cryan, J. R., Sheehan, R., Wiechel, J., & Bandy-Hedden, I. G. (1992). Success outcomes of full-day kindergarten: More positive behavior and increased achievement in the years after. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 7(2), 187-203.
Lee, V. E., Burkam, D. T., Ready, D. D., Honigman, J., & Meisels, S. J. (2006). Full-Day versus Half-Day Kindergarten: In Which Program Do Children Learn More? American Journal of Education, 112(2), 163-208. http://www.thecommunityguide.org/healthequity/education/he-AJPM-evrec-fd... [PDF, 32KB]
Schroeder, J. (2007). Full-day kindergarten offsets negative effects of poverty on state tests. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal. 15(3), 427-439.
Hahn, R.A., Rammohan, V. et al. (2014). Effects of Full-Day Kindergarten on the Long-Term Health Prospects of Children in Low-Income and Racial/Ethnic-Minority Populations. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 46(3), 312-323.
Walston, J.T., and West, J. (2004). Full-day and Half-day Kindergarten in the United States: Findings from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–99 (NCES 2004–078). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office
Walters, C. (2014). Inputs in the Production of Early Childhood Human Capital: Evidence from Head Start. National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 20639.
Walston, J.T., and West, J. (2004). Full-day and Half-day Kindergarten in the United States: Findings from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–99 (NCES 2004–078). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
5 Camilli, G., Vargas, S., Ryan, S., & Barnett, W.S. (2010). Meta-analysis of the effects of early education interventions on cognitive and social development. Teachers College Record, 112(3), 579-620.
Buysse, V., Peisner-Feinber, E.S., Saikakou, E., & LaForett, D.R. (2014). Recognition & response: A model of response to Intervention to promote academic learning in early education. Chapter 5 in Handbook of Response to Intervention in Early Childhood, Buysee, V., & Peisner-Feinberg, E. (Eds.). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.
Justice, L.M., Mcginty, A., Cabell, S.Q., Kilday, C.R., Knighton, K., & Huffman, G. (2010). Language and literacy curriculum supplement for preschoolers who are academically at risk: A feasibility study. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 41, 161-178.
Ginsburg, H.P., Ertle, B., & Presser, A.L. (2014). Math curriculum and instruction for young children. Chapter 16 in Handbook of Response to Intervention in Early Childhood, Buysee, V., & Peisner-Feinberg, E. (Eds.). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.
2 Sloan McCombs, J. et al., (2011). Making Summer Count. How Summer Programs Can Boost Children’s Learning. Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation.
Alexander, K. L., Entwisle D. R., & Olson L. S. (2007). Summer learning and its implications: Insights from the Beginning School Study. New Directions for Youth Development, 114, 11-32.
Sloan McCombs, J. et al., (2011). Making Summer Count. How Summer Programs Can Boost Children’s Learning. Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation. Allington, R.L. & McGill-Franzen, A. (2003). The Impact of Summer Setback on the Reading Achievement Gap. The Phi Delta Kappan, 85(1), 68-75.
Fairchild, R. & Noam, G. (Eds.) (2007). Summertime: Confronting Risks, Exploring Solutions. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Wiley.
Downey, D.B., von Hippel, P.T. & Broh, B.A. (2004). Are Schools the Great Equalizer? Cognitive Inequality During the Sum¬mer Months and the School Year. American Sociological Review, 69(5), 613–635.
Benson, J., & Borman, G.D. (2010). Family, Neighborhood, and School Settings Across Seasons: When Do Socioeconomic Context and Racial Composition Matter for the Reading Achievement Growth of Young Children? Teacher’s College Record, 112(5), 1338–1390.
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