Catholic Charities Westside Head Start begins virtual learning programs this week. To ensure that all students can participate, staff members will deliver supplies to children and families who request them.
Catholic Charities Westside Head Start provides early, continuous, year-round childhood education through a holistic approach by working with the whole family. Programs emphasize pre-reading, language, math, cognitive skills, and health, social and emotional competence to prepare disadvantaged children for school and to maximize their potential for a bright future. Westside Head Start offers classes in Buckeye, Peoria, Glendale, Goodyear, Avondale, El Mirage, Littleton and Tolleson.
“Children of all ages will be dealing with the largest achievement gap in recent history, so we are doing everything we possibly can to ensure kids are getting what they need to continue their development and education, even at this early age,” WSHS executive director Yatin Dua stated in a news release. “Staff is doing all they can to connect parents with the information they will need. If a family doesn’t have a computer or even a phone to connect through Zoom or Skype, staff is dropping off packets, crayons, supplies and more so the kids can participate.”
All staff members are working from home but can go to classrooms at district sites and modular locations to pick up supplies or access technology as needed. CDC protocols for hygiene and safety are strictly enforced.
WSHS collaborates with Catholic Charities’ Philanthropy Department and other area agencies to assist families struggling with food insecurity to ensure they continue receiving food boxes generously provided by donors. In addition, the district is working to provide grab-and-go lunches as well.
“During normal times, the kids are provided food each day in the classroom, and many families count on that,” Mr. Dua stated.
At this time, no estimate on returning to the classroom has been made. WSHS is monitoring local guidelines as well as working with national Head Start to ensure the safest environment possible. Parent, advisory and policy councils will hold meetings virtually.
Students and families eligible to enroll in Westside Head Start include expectant mothers, children up to age 5, and children with special needs, foster children and homeless children. Enrollment, other than for families with a member who has attended Westside Head Start or expectant mothers, can be done online at catholiccharities.org/all-locations/youth-development.
Expectant mothers and families with members who have attended the program should call 623-436-9868.