In the almost 50 years since the national Head Start program was enacted, the Department of Health and Human Services has been triumphant in making sure that thousands of young students who grew up in impoverished areas were given the same opportunity to succeed as their more privileged peers.
When the program was started in 1965 by Jule Sugarman, it was simply a summer school initiative that was designed to help children who needed to play catch-up because they weren't privy to early childhood education. Over the years, the government realized that this program needed to be expanded to truly make a difference and, today, children who have completed the program have gone on to be highly productive adults.
A meeting of the minds like no other
For the past 40 years, the educators and students involved in making this program such a success have gathered at the Annual Head Start Conference to learn more about what can be done to help less fortunate children find the path to success. This year, the conference will take place between April 30 and May 3 at the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center in National Harbor, Maryland.
On hand to help kick off the annual gathering are esteemed educators and keynote speakers, Diane Trister Dodge and Kai-lee Berke.
Sharing years of experience in the field of childcare
Dodge founded Teaching Strategies LLC, a leading provider of tools and resources that are designed to help teachers better perform their jobs so that students can flourish in any learning environment. Among her many accomplishments is being the lead author of The Creative Curriculum, an acclaimed teaching guideline that has helped revolutionize how teachers educate children.
Berke, too, has made her mark as the vice president of curriculum and assessment at Teaching Strategies. Before coming to this company, Berke spent years teaching preschool and kindergarten children in a number of public and private settings, even participating in programs for the Department of Defense.
Without help, these children could be vulnerable to many injustices
It's important to offer young children the opportunity to succeed, not only because they deserve the chance to achieve their dreams, but because this demographic is one of the main targets for child identity theft. In fact, thousands of youngsters every year become victims of this crime — regardless of their upbringing — and it can result in credit scores that are tarnished by identity theft before they ever grow up to do any borrowing of their own. The good news is there are programs that really do help kids in less-than-ideal situations find a safe path to adulthood.