MARCH 10, 2006 | The Head Start program operated by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) under the Department of Pediatrics in the College of Medicine is partnering with the Little Rock School District to provide more comprehensive services to children in their preschool programs.
The agreement was announced Feb. 16 during a site visit to
The arrangement will allow schools with educational programs for 4-year-olds to enhance those services by having Head Start provide for health, dental, nutritional and mental health needs for eligible students. Four family enrichment specialists will work with families and the schools.
”We hope that this arrangement might serve as a national model for collaboration with schools or even private child care facilities,” McCowan said, noting that UAMS is one of only three teaching hospitals in the nation to operate a Head Start program, which provides services to children from low-income families and serves as a home-to-school link.
The agreement would not cost either agency additional funds. Benefits include more positive outcomes for the children, better attendance and participation in the programs, enhanced corporate interest in the schools, and information for possible future research on early childhood development.
“With the increase of preschool programs across the nation, creative methods are being looked at that broaden and expand services for all children,” said Roy G. Brooks, Ed.D., superintendent of the
UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D., said part of Head Start’s purpose is to provide outreach and cooperation with other agencies in the community.
“By collaborating, we provide the family home link,”
Also a part of the announcement were King principal Tyrone Harris; Charles Feild, M.D., UAMS Head Start executive director; and Mary Kaye McKinney, director of the UAMS Head Start program.