Head Start is a national program committed to giving every child the opportunity to succeed in school and life beyond school. MV Community Services Head Start program is home-based and locally designed for our Island community.
Want to learn more? Read our quick interview below with Head Start Program Coordinator, Cindy Flanders.
Q: How long have you been involved with Head Start?
I was a Head Start parent for four years when my now college student children were ages three to five. Once they were both in the Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools, I was hired as a Head Start Home Visitor and continued in that job for ten years. I became the Program Coordinator in 2017 and continue to hold that position.
Q: Who is eligible to participate in Head Start?
Head Start is for children age three to five. Families must be income eligible or meet some of the exceptions to the income requirements as defined by Head Start. We have bilingual and trilingual home visitors, and all our programming is offered with translation services available.
Q: What makes our home-based program unique?
Our Head Start program is designed to meet the needs of a culturally diverse community. We believe that children learn best in the context of nurturing relationships with caring adults and play is the vehicle for that learning. We strive to give parents and caregivers the tools to unleash the potential in their children and to support that child’s learning style as the child becomes excited to learn and grows into a life long learner. Additionally, we work with parents and caregivers to help them strengthen their role as their child’s first and most important teacher.
Q: Any favorite success stories or advice for parents or caregivers that might be thinking about applying to the program?
My favorite stories are the ones that involve parents or caregivers finding their voice to advocate for their children AND themselves. When I was a Home Visitor, there was a mom who had been a collegiate athlete; someone who loved physical exercise. But, as the mother of three small children, she had let that part of her life slip away from her as she dealt with the day to day demands of her family. She set a goal for herself to get back into physical activity and we made a plan for how she was going to get there. She is now running ½ marathons. I also love to see the children who were Head Start kids finding success in their own lives; proof that Head Start works.